News Briefs: A Deal for the Devil? | Nude Dudes Lay Down Tools | Slavery Still Exists | South Eugene Wins Ultimate | Medical Pot Signatures Turned In | Petition Filed to Halt Toxic Drift | Eyeballs on Pisgah | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Lighten Up
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
A DEAL FOR THE DEVIL?
|photo: Tim Giraudier|
The Devil’s Staircase Wilderness proposal may get a little more salmon habitat if Roseburg Forest Products (RFP) agrees to a possible land trade.
Devil’s Staircase, also known as Wassen Creek, is an area in the Coast Range of unlogged old-growth forest. The creek provides habitat for native coho and chinook salmon, trout and steelhead runs. The unstable soils in the area make it less than ideal for logging but have no affect on the wilderness value of the land.
Last summer, Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Wyden introduced companion bills, H.R. 2888 and S. 1272, designating the 29,650-acre Devil’s Staircase Wilderness, named for a difficult to access waterfall deep in the rugged forest. The bills are making their way through Congress, and the proposed wilderness has been given support by both the BLM and the Forest Service.
According to Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands, one of the many groups supporting the wilderness proposal, much of the salmon spawning habitat in that area is not actually in the public lands proposed for wilderness protection; it’s on private lands owned by RFP. “It’s been clearcut 20 to 30 years ago,” Laughlin said, “but it’s where the spawning takes place.”
According to an October 2009 American Forest Resource Council newsletter, RFP has been concerned about the wilderness proposal because “as designated, however, it nearly land-locks one section of Roseburg Forest Products timberland and would likely make logging on other adjacent private timberland more difficult.”
The newsletter said that RFP has been working with DeFazio’s office to address these concerns. Laughlin and others hope RFP might be interested in a land trade that would give Devil’s Staircase the spawning habitat owned by RFP and give the timber company other land in exchange. “It’s win-win for everyone,” he said. “We get this and they get a plantation that’s not connected to interior habitat.”
RFP however, is not saying much. Mark Wall, RFP’s Oregon forestry manager said, “I can only confirm that RFP is not working with Cascadia Wildlands or any other group on a land trade of any property we own near the proposed Devils Staircase Wilderness. Beyond this statement of fact, my company has no further comment.”
For more on the wilderness proposal, and hikes out into it, go to www.devilsstaircasewilderness.org — Camilla Mortensen
NUDE DUDES LAY DOWN TOOLS
|Glassbar Island Volunters. photo: Trask Bedortha|
A group of nude dudes who have dedicated themselves to maintaining and beautifying Glassbar Island at the confluence of the Middle and Coast forks of the Willamette River have been asked to by the state to put away their tools for the time being.
The Glassbar Island Volunteers (see “Prickly Project,” April 22) were asked in a May 13 letter by Oregon Parks and Recreation Southern Willamette Parks Manager Julie Whalen to “(p)lease stop immediately, all individual or group volunteer work including projects that were previously approved.” The letter’s recipient, GIV president David Rosenblatt, said that the naked volunteers are “devastated” to be told to cease their efforts, which have included trail and habitat restoration, clean-up and the planting of native species. “It just goes on and on and on,” he said of the Glassbar group’s recent difficulties. “It’s awful.”
According to Whalen, the letter’s author, there is nothing sinister or untoward in her asking the group temporarily to stop their work; on the contrary, because of budget restrictions and the onset of warm-weather activities, “we just don’t have the staff this summer to supervise a volunteer group of that size,” Whalen said. She said that she has nothing but high regard for the volunteers. “I think they’ve done great work,” Whalen added. “Clearly they really care about the island. It’s a couple of months and we’ll be back hopefully where we began.”
Whalen said she has offered to meet up with Rosenblatt and his group after the summer season, or in “mid September,” as she stated in her letter to the volunteers. Nonetheless, Rosenblatt said he’s distressed at the sudden halting of the group’s good work, “which means that everything is going to go to hell.” He points out that only recently, turtles have begun hatching on the property, and that the volunteers consider themselves custodians of such wildlife. “Now we have to not even pick up cigarette butts,” Rosenblatt added. — Rick Levin
SLAVERY STILL EXISTS
The I-5 corridor is a route for human trafficking and brings forced labor close to home, says Sherry Dooley, a 43-year-old survivor of human trafficking and still very much a victim.
“It’s been 13 years, and I still go to therapy,” she said. “I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, general anxiety disorder. I’m scared of my own shadow.”
Dooley’s story is one of many being shared at the UO’s third annual “Slavery Still Exists” forum. The 13-day event, according to coordinator Kristen Rudolph, is an opportunity to enact revolutionary change by raising awareness of the more than two million people forced into modern day slavery annually.
Speaking at Monday’s candlelight vigil was Jerry Ragan, a local high school teacher whose daughter has been in the sex trade for more than 10 years. “There are gangs in Portland that send their men out two by two for the express purpose of grooming young women with no self-esteem for the sex trade,” said Jerry Ragan. “There is so much deviousness in some people that it amazes me that it’s even possible.”
For Rudolph, the passion for civic engagement on this issue is contagious. “It’s inspiring to see when people encounter the issue for the first time, are struck by how awful it is, and turn around passionately to do something about it.”
The May 20 line-up, in UO’s PLC 180, will feature Bill Hillar, a university instructor who ultimately lost his daughter to sex trafficking violence and whose story continues to rouse others to action. “When I first heard Bill’s story, it really shook me up,” said Rudolph. “I started researching the issue and soon felt that it was the greatest injustice I had ever heard of.”
Dooley explained how the event could inspire others to empathize with victims of human trafficking. “People generally don’t want to identify with the victim,” she said. “[But] the more this kind of thing happens, the more people stand up and talk about what they went through.”
Slavery Still Exists’ calendar of events ends May 27, and will feature a line-up of speakers, a free concert, and a documentary film screening. For more information, visit http://wkly.ws/k4
“In my generation, the men think it’s OK to treat women badly,” said local resident Wynne Wakkila, speaking to Monday night’s audience. “But your generation is going to put an end to this, because I know in my heart that you guys will not put up with this.” — Deborah Bloom
SOUTH EUGENE WINS ULTIMATE
Rolling over the competition with a high-flying offense and tenacious D, the Axemen Ultimate Frisbee team from South Eugene nabbed first place at the 2010 UPA High School Western Championship in Burlington, Wash., the weekend of May 8-9, taking down Seattle’s Northwest School in the final round by a score of 13-8.
It was SEHS’s sixth consecutive trip to the invite-only tournament, though until now the team’s best finish was when the Axemen took second at last year’s tourney in Minnesota. Returning nine of the players from the 2009 team, this year’s squad proved itself a juggernaut, rolling past the Bay Area’s Gunn High School (13-5) in the first round, followed by convincing, if not dominant, wins over Bellevue (13-1), Seattle Academy (13-0), Alameda (13-6) and Cathedral (13-3).
“It’s shocking that we shut someone out,” said senior Dylan Freechild, who along with teammate Aaron Honn is one of two junior worlds players on the Axemen. “Over the years, South has been very offense oriented. We’re a lot more fast paced than other teams. We rely on speed and athleticism a lot more.”
But, Freechild added, it is Axemen coach Breeze Strout’s emphasis on playing strong defense that might account for taking the team to the next level. Strout, a South Eugene alum who played ultimate Frisbee as a student, is actually the team’s first official coach; in previous years, student-players managed the squad. And, in a particularly sweet irony, Strout’s inaugural title run as a coach was achieved by a finals win over the Northwest School — the same Seattle powerhouse that beat the Axemen when Strout was a player. “That was just cool for him,” Freechild said.
It’s not a huge surprise that the Axemen cruised to victory. As Freechild, who will attend the UO next year, points out, they are the only team to place in the tournament’s top-8 bracket six years running (Freechild has played for four of those years), and the Axemen were ranked at No. 2 coming into the Western Championship this time around. “We were kind of coming in as the third best team, even though we got the two seed,” Freechild said, though overall he added the team felt “pretty good” about their chances of taking the title. “It was the first year that we went up that we felt we could be playing,” he said. — Rick Levin
MEDICAL POT SIGNATURES TURNED IN
Organizers of a new initiative to regulate medical marijuana turned in signatures Thursday, May 20, to the Oregon secretary of state. The group needs 82,769 valid signatures by July 2 to put the measure on the November ballot. More than 110,000 signatures were submitted, according to John Sajo, director of Voter Power, the group organizing the petition drive.
The initiative would add a regulated supply system of dispensaries and producers to the current medical marijuana law which requires patients to produce their own medicine.
Oregon election law requires the secretary of state to immediately verify initiative petition signatures that are turned in by the "early turn-in" deadline May 21. The Elections Division will determine how many are valid.
"We think we are pretty close to having enough valid signatures," says Sajo. "The early turn-in law will allow us to know exactly where we are." Petitioners will continue to collect signatures until the July 2 deadline, unless the initiative already has enough signatures to qualify.
Current law requires patients to grow six mature marijuana plants or to designate a grower to do it for them. "Producing their own medicine is a big headache for many patients, but it remains a felony for anyone to sell them marijuana," says Sajo.
"When we drafted the original Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, we didn't include provisions for dispensaries because federal law prohibited that. But now that the Obama administration has indicated that they will allow states to regulate medical marijuana, Oregon needs to create a regulated system so every patient can access quality controlled medicine."
Licensed nonprofit dispensaries will be permitted to sell medical marijuana to registered patients. Licensed producers will grow the marijuana and sell it to dispensaries. Both dispensaries and producers will be subject to inspection and auditing by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).
Voter Power Foundation estimates that the measure, if it passes, will raise $10 million to $40 million the first year. Any revenue exceeding the costs to administer the program can be spent by DHS on other health programs.
Polling commissioned by Voter Power showed that 59 percent of Oregon voters support the measure and 32 percent oppose it.
PETITION FILED TO HALT TOXIC DRIFT
The local Pitchfork Rebellion is on the verge of a “major victory against Big Pesticide and Big Timber,” according to Day Owen of the Triangle Lake area. The group’s complaints about pesticide drift from helicopter toxic spraying of private timberlands in the county (see cover story, http://wkly.ws/k5) has gotten the attention of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and its petition has been assigned an EPA docket number, OPP-2010-0265.
The petition calls for “an unbiased study on pesticide drift in our specific bioregion,” saying previous EPA decisions were based on “flawed data provided by the Pesticide Drift Task Force, a front group for 42 pesticide companies…. Their financial conflict of interest is obvious.” The petition also calls for an emergency aerial spray buffer zone of one mile around homes and schools, and a study on the influence of the pesticide industry on past EPA decisions.
“Our petition to the EPA has been accepted for public comment,” says Owen. “That is the first step in the rules-change process. We are working to make that poison from the sky illegal next to homes and schools.”
On the back page of EW this week is a paid advertisement including a short letter than can be cut out and mailed to the EPA or Owen can be contacted for information on how to email comments to EPA by June 28. Contact him at email@example.com The group’s website is still under construction.
“Tasings, Homeland Security and Weyerhaeuser intimidation have not stopped us,” says Owen. “Let’s not let apathy stop us!” — Ted Taylor
EYEBALLS ON PISGAH
A training session for Park Watch volunteers at Mount Pisgah Arboretum is coming up from 6 to 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 26, at the park’s White Oak Pavilion.
“We’re proud of how the Park Watch program is already acting as an effective deterrent to vandalism in the parking areas around Mount Pisgah,” says volunteer coordinator Val Rogers, “and we need your help to keep this successful program going though the busy summer season.”
Experienced Park Watch volunteers will be on hand as well as representatives from Lane County Parks, Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah, and Mount Pisgah Arboretum, and refreshments will be served. RSVP to Katura Reynolds at 747-3817 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• 1000 Friends of Oregon is celebrating the opening of its new Willamette Valley office in Eugene. Executive Director Jason Miner and Willamette Valley Advocate Mia Nelson will meet and greet from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, May 20, at 220 E. 11th Ave., Suite 5. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP or more information, call 653-8703 or email email@example.com The office website is at http://wkly.ws/jm
• Lane County Budget Committee meetings are under way and are open to the public. The next deliberation session, if needed, is from 5:15 to 8 pm Thursday, May 20, in Harris Hall, 125 E. Eighth Ave. Public comments will be invited for the first 45 minutes. Additional work sessions may be scheduled as needed. Budget Committee meetings have live television coverage (Metro TV Channel 21) and are webcast at www.lanecounty.org
• To commemorate the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine known to the Arab victims as al nakba (the catastrophe), the Al-Nakba Awareness Project and UO Arab Student Union will sponsor a memorial event on Saturday, May 22, in UO Lawrence Hall, Room 115. UCLA professor of English and comparative literature Saree Makdisi, author of Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation and a nephew of Palestinian writer Edward Said, will speak at 7 pm on “Al Nakba and Apartheid that Dare Not Speak their Names.” Films on the 1948-50 refugees and oral history interviews with Nakba survivors will be shown from 3 to 5 pm, and Dr. Makdisi’s address will be followed by a panel discussion with Palestinians who have suffered dispossession or occupation.
• LCC is hosting a “Let’s Build It Together” public forum on the proposed downtown campus from 6 to 7:30 pm Tuesday, May 25, at the Eugene Public Library Bascom/Tykeson Room. Information will be provided and there will be time for questions and feedback. Brief remarks by President Mary Spilde, Board Chair Pat Albright, and Board Vice Chair Tony McCown. See more details on the project at lanecc.edu/dc
• The comment period on revisions to the current administrative rules that regulate field burning in the Willamette Valley has been reopened by the DEQ. If you have concerns about air quality in Eugene and what constitutes an “emergency” when it comes to a grass seed farmer’s request to burn fields in the Willamette Valley, go to http://wkly.ws/jd for information. The newly reopened comment period closes Friday, May 21, at 5 pm.
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
• ODOT plans to spray ramps of I-5, I-105, and Beltline as well as frontage and secondary roads in Metro area this week. ODOT will be spot spraying Gorse and Scotch Broom on Highway 126 and 101 this week. Call District 5 at 744-8080 or (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. See forestlanddwellers.org/News/2010-News/ODOT/
• Near King Estate: Menasha Forest Management Services (688-1900) was contracted for ground spraying and Western Helicopter Services (503) 538-9469 for aerial spraying for Kester Family Ranch (942-9264) for notice #3010-781-00342.
• Districtwide roadside spraying on timberlands: Roseburg Resources (271-0159) will spray 53,125 feet of roadside with Triclopyr, Glyphosate and 2,4-D LV6 herbicides starting May 15 (No. 781-00453).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
There is nothing wrong with the big steel and concrete box lowered to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. It was just sent on the wrong mission. Its highest and best use would be as a place to lock up those responsible for the oil spill. — Rafael Aldave
• A decision on extending the Downtown Urban Renewal District is expected at the Eugene City Council meeting Monday, May 24, and the URD will probably pass 6-2, judging by previous votes and comments. Councilors Betty Taylor and George Brown will likely be the only "no" votes. Progressives around town are split on whether or not to use urban renewal to subsidize LCC's downtown campus and hire more cops, and quite frankly, so are we. The arguments are compelling on both sides, and over the past few months we have tried to provide our readers with all the complex angles. The facts and assumptions are questionable, but what is certain for us is that the LCC project would provide a huge boost to our struggling downtown. One positive concession by our city manager is his willingness to have a commission appointed by the City Council oversee urban renewal spending during the life of the district. Such oversight would add a level of accountability and trust that right now is lacking. Distrust of city government is part of the resistance to extending urban renewal.
• Street reconstruction at 29th and Willamette will make needed repairs and add needed bike lanes through the intersection. But the project is causing all kinds of headaches for businesses in the area and drivers are figuring out how to avoid the intersection, or even that part of town. We hear business revenues are down, and some employees have been laid off. Cyclists and elderly pedestrians are also complaining. What can we do about this mess for the next two months? If we are driving, we can make the extra effort to continue patronizing these suffering businesses by parking a block or two away and walking. Biking up Willamette has always been a scary adventure, but some parallel streets are open and relatively safe. We should avoid detouring through neighborhoods but if we must, let's go slow and watch for kids, bikes and pets. The city should put up signs on side streets to that effect. Of course, the best solution to traffic jams is not driving at all. Car pool, walk, bus or bike.
• Portland's mayor recently fired the city's police chief after a public clash over a comparatively tiny budget cut to her department. Imagine what would have happened in Eugene where the government is run by an unelected city manager. If the chief rebelled against the manager's budget, it would be in secret. If the manager fired the chief, the reason for the "resignation" would be secret. The mayor would be clueless and powerless. Voters would be clueless and powerless to hold anyone accountable. At least in Portland they know what happened and why and can vote the bastards out if they want.
• The good news for salmon this week is that the EPA announced new restrictions for the spraying of the chemicals diazinon, malathion and chlorpyrifos that will include no-spray zones along streams and weather restrictions for spraying. EPA has also announced potential 25 and 1,000-feet no-spray buffers around streams for the pesticides carbaryl, carbofuran and methomyl in salmon and steelhead habitat as part of 37 pesticides the agency is reviewing.
• The bad news for salmon this week is that the Obama administration announced Will Stelle, the former regional administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service under Bill Clinton has been reappointed to his old post. Stelle might be better for salmon than Bush officials, but that's not saying a lot. Many conservationists and salmon advocates are unhappy with this appointment because they saw little progress for salmon under his watch. Some conservatives oppose his appointment because the biological opinion on salmon that was issued in 2000 under Stelle's watch acknowledged it may be necessary to breach some dams to save salmon.
• Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's detractors want to make environmentalists from Eugene the wild card that keeps her off the highest court in the land. An article in the conservative newspaper The Washington Examiner that has begun to make rounds on the Internet claims that as an associate White House counsel Kagan misconducted an investigation into allegations that a Clinton White House official was leaking information to the logging protesters at Warner Creek in 1996. The article calls the environmentalists "eco-terrorists" and alleges the leak "endangered the lives of their agents on the ground." The logging protest ended with Warner Creek unlogged, several activists arrested and no violence on the part of the protesters. Go to http://wkly.ws/k7 to read the article and to http://wkly.ws/k6 to read Media Matters' debunking of the claims.
• No big surprises in this week’s local primary results other than we expected the Extension Service tax to pass; instead, it failed by nearly 9 points. Apparently we still don’t recognize the importance of rebuilding our urban agriculture and small farms. We did predict that some county commissioner races would go to run-offs in November, but we didn’t expect Tea Party conservative Jay Bozievich to get 35.5 percent of the votes. Progressive Jerry Rust led Bozievich by 13 points, giving Rust an edge going into November, but it will be no slam-dunk. Sid Leiken did quite a bit better than Pat Riggs-Henson in the race for Springfield’s county commissioner, and the two will face off in November in what could be a hot contest. Riggs-Henson is not yet a household name in Springfield, but she is a strong campaigner and she has all the important endorsements. And Leiken still carries a lot of political baggage.
The under-vote or no-vote is full of clues, but these numbers are rarely examined. Sometimes voters leave items unmarked, either because they don’t like the choices (none of the above), or they don’t know enough to make a decision. Incumbent Faye Stewart won the east commissioner post easily with 9,354 votes, but that race had 3,205 no-votes.
Why even bother to vote in uncontested or barely contested races? It’s a symbolic vote of confidence or no-confidence. In the Eugene uncontested council races, for example, George Poling got 2,471 votes, but 1,765 no-votes, which indicates to us that he is not very popular and is vulnerable to a challenge next time around. And what’s up with Springfield’s three uncontested council races? Votes were only about a third higher than the no-votes.
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, editor at eugeneweekly dot com