News Briefs: Sidewalk Cop Grafitti Illegal? | Don't Touch the Bears | Oregonians to Protest Arizona Bill | Rogue Deal Looks Good | Activist Alert | Early Deadlines | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Lighten Up
Council passes urban renewal for LCC, cops
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Erin Bucklew
Sidewalk Cop Grafitti Illegal?
Eugene police spray painted sidewalks downtown last week, but exactly what the police message means remains unclear.
Police spray painted white lines encompassing most of the wide sidewalk in front of the LTD bus station and sprayed a large yellow “DO NOT BLOCK PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY” within the box.
|Carol Berg-Caldwell takes a stand. Photo by Ted Taylor|
“The officers told the youth that they couldn’t be within the lines or they’d get a ticket or jail,” Majeska Seese-Green, a neighborhood and police issues activist, told the City Council at its May 24 public meeting.
The Register-Guard called the area a “keep out” zone based on interviews with police.
But Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz told the City Council that people were free to stand in the large areas of public space as long as they didn’t block other pedestrians. “By virtue of you just standing there, you’re not breaking the law at all.”
The Register-Guard reported that police had made the area a “no standing zone.”
But when Mayor Kitty Piercy asked Ruiz, “It doesn’t prohibit anyone standing there?”
Ruiz responded, “Correct.”
Carol Berg-Caldwell, a neighborhood and police issues activist, called the paint police-sanctioned “graffiti.” She said police had told kids “to stay completely out of those white marked perimeters” or face $280 tickets or jail. Berg said, “they are being targeted.”
It doesn’t appear that enforcing a “no standing zone” would hold up in court. Simply standing on a sidewalk is not illegal in Eugene or America. Eugene Code (4.707) prohibits blocking or interfering with pedestrians on a public sidewalk, but only “with the intent to interfere with free passage.” The code also includes an exemption for “lawful protesting activity and lawful picketing activity.”
The U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment prohibits police from targeting people based on their appearance.
Councilor Betty Taylor questioned whether the city’s intent wasn’t simply to keep kids from hanging out near the bus station. She said it’s difficult to see how people standing and talking on the large sidewalk could completely block it. “It’s an awfully wide spot for people to get through.”
This isn’t the first time Eugene police officers have targeted the poor with legally questionable signs painted on sidewalks. Five years ago police officers painted “no soliciting” signs on sidewalks used by panhandlers. The city admitted the signs were illegal, but there was no apparent punishment for the officers involved. — Alan Pittman
DON’T TOUCH THE BEARS
The dead bear sow lay on the side of the road, with two small cubs clinging to her back. It was getting cold and starting to snow, says Joseph Koscek III who came upon the animals late into the evening on a back road out near Lost Creek. Afraid the infant bears would die of exposure, Koscek did what he thought was right — captured the small bear cubs, took them home and put them in a dark closet for the night. In the morning he called the authorities, and OSP Trooper Marc Boyd arrived to take the bears.
Boyd also gave Koscek a $344 violation for taking/holding a young game mammal and Koscek says the trooper told him “I gave them a death sentence by taking them out of the woods.” Koscek was afraid the bears were taken away to be killed.
Koscek said he thought if he left the cubs on the side of the road in the dark, he wouldn’t be able to find his way back to the spot and the cubs would die. When he returned in the morning with Boyd to show him the dead bear sow, he says he drove right past her body.
Koscek also told Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense, who he called after he was issued the citation, that the trooper removed one of the small cubs by snaring it around the neck with a control stick — a long pole with a loop on the end. The cub was carried a foot off the ground, by its neck, to the trooper’s truck, Fahy says. The snare should have gone around one of the cub’s forelimbs as well as his neck, he says
“You don’t use a control stick to catch bears,” says Fahy. “You never pick the animal up off the ground.” He says the small bear cub should have been caught using stout gloves and a blanket. Carrying the cub with the control stick could have snapped the neck of the infant bear, he says.
Ron Martin of the Oregon State police says, “We use whatever method available or necessary to restrain an animal.” Whatever method is used, he says, needs to be safe for the trooper or person catching the animal and the most humane to the animal. He says, “Catch poles often work well for this and are an acceptable tool used by many animal control agencies including HSUS (Humane Society of the U.S.) affiliates.”
Brian Wolfer of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says in a lot of these cases when someone picks up an infant wild animal, the mother is actually close by. Another danger is that the animal will injure the person. He says that he was told the cubs bit and scratched Koscek. Finally, if the animal, particularly a predator like a bear, becomes exposed to people and pets it makes it difficult to rehab the animals and release them back to the wild. “Minimum human contact is absolutely necessary,” he says.
According to Wolfer, since the ODFW offices were closed, Koscek should have called the OSP immediately, “especially when it’s something like a bear.” He says for “your run of the mill orphan squirrel” you can call a group like Willamette Wildlife Rehabilitation or for hawks and such call Cascades Raptor Center. Those groups he said have the skills and the permits to deal with injured wildlife.
Fahy says that it is indeed standard to not touch the wildlife, a situation where infant animals are removed from their mother “is exactly what you don’t want to have happen,” he says. “But in this case there was a dead bear” and the trooper “didn’t have to cite Koscek.” He points out that many people don’t know who to call in this situation, don’t have numbers for ODFW or OSP and don’t want to call 911.
Wolfer says the bear cubs were taken to PAWS, a rehab facility in Washington. He says in these cases ODFW has three options: PAWS, an accredited zoo or euthanasia. The animals are euthanized if there is no room at the rehab center or a zoo, or if they have become too acclimated to people to safely return to the wild. — Camilla Mortensen
OREGONIANS TO PROTEST ARIZONA BILL
Arizona’s recent passage of the nation’s toughest anti-immigration bill is making waves and Oregonians are responding.
At 11 am Saturday, May 29 at Oregon’s Capitol building, protesters will be marching and rallying in a national day of action to oppose Arizona’s SB 1070, which some have called “Arizona’s racial profiling law.”
This legislation makes it illegal for an immigrant to be in Arizona without carrying the required documentation and allows law enforcement to arrest anyone suspected of illegal immigration.
Organizer Ranfis Villatoro called the rally an opportunity to speak out against “racial profiling, civil rights violations and discrimination going on in Arizona” after the bill’s passage. It is also an opportunity to speak out against the country’s current immigration system.
“Right now, the immigrant community has no legal rights,” he said. “Yet, these people have families here. They work hard. They contribute to society. They pay taxes. It’s not fair that they continue to be stuck between just being here and living every day with possibly being deported.”
Hosting the event is CAUSA, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Coalition, a grassroots movement that works to reform the U.S. immigration system and defend the rights of immigrants through civic engagement. According to its press release, the rally is a chance to tell “Oregon’s Legislature that racist laws like SB 1070 are not welcome in our state.”
Reiterating this concern, Villatoro testified to the importance of community action in not allowing Arizona’s legislation to be a precedent for similar bills in Oregon. “We are telling the community that we need to be united and that we need to know that this could happen here.”
Transportation to the Capitol at 900 Court St. in Salem will be arranged at Eugene’s St. Mary’s church at 9 am that morning.
For Villatoro, the rally should be a call to Congress to make immigration reform a greater priority. “You can’t fix the economy without fixing our broken immigration system. The political capital is there, but Congress needs to get moving.” — Deborah Bloom
ROGUE DEAL LOOKS GOOD
Conservation groups are one step closer to expanding the wilderness around the Rogue River. The Save the Wild Rogue Coalition, which includes local nonprofit Cascadia Wildlands as well as several local businesses, reached an agreement with the American Forest Resource Council (AFRC) that river lovers hope will result in 58,000 acres of forests around the Rogue River gaining wilderness protection and 93 miles of wild and scenic rivers being added to the existing Wild Rogue Wilderness.
The most recent iteration of the Rogue proposal, says Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands, had half-mile wide riparian buffers on either side of the river.
AFRC was concerned about the precedent these wide buffers would set for future wild and scenic proposals.
A wilderness designation usually prohibits logging, motorized travel and new mining claims but allows for hunting and mining. Sometimes motorized travel and other non-wilderness activities are grandfathered in, but overall, wilderness destination is a strong protection for wild areas.
Laughlin says most people who float the Rogue think they are already surrounded by wilderness, but “all you’ve got is a ribbon of protection of about a quarter mile.”
Laughlin says with the AFRC, a typical timber industry opponent to such proposals, not objecting to the wilderness protection, together with widespread business support, “The table has been set” for the Rogue’s protection, and “to deliver this bounty to all Americans.”
The Save the Wild Rogue Coalition hopes the new version of the plan will be introduced as a bill in the House by Congressman Peter DeFazio and in the Senate by Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. The coalition hopes the bills will be introduced shortly and make their way through Congress quickly.
“The clock’s ticking,” Laughlin says. — Camilla Mortensen
• A fundraising event for governor candidate John Kitzhaber is planned from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, May 27, at Alton Baker Park, Pavillion Two. Hosted by Mayor Kitty Piercy and other local Democrats. Suggested contribution is $50 and those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to (503) 217-6222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Pam and Frank Turner are preparing to ride their bicycles cross-country to raise awareness, support and funds for Courageous Kids, a program that provides bereavement support services to children and their parents/caregivers. A kickoff event for the ride is at 5:30 pm Thursday, May 27 at Cozmic Pizza. Guest speakers and a performance by the Courageous Kids Teen Theatre Troup. See www.courageouskidsoregon.org
• Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy will speak on “Sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line” at 7 pm Thursday, May 27, at the Tamarack Wellness Center, 3575 Donald. Tamarack has installed one of the largest thermal ray solar systems in the Northwest, with 144 solar panels producing up to 20 kilowatts of electricity. Piercy will discuss “promoting a sustainable future that meets today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs as well.” Discussion and Q&A will follow. Free and open to the public.
• Looking Glass is celebrating 40 years of helping youth and families in our community with a grand opening of its new campus, from noon to 2 pm Friday, May 28, at 550 River Road. The facility will be home to an expanded girls’ services program, as well as a new Intensive Treatment Services program that will fill a gap in local mental health care services for teens with acute problems. See www.lookingglass.us or call 686-2688 for more information.
• Over Memorial Day weekend, Lane County Veterans For Peace, Chapter 159, will pay tribute to the 122 soldiers with close ties to Oregon who have died in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Their goal is to increase public awareness of the human cost of war. From 9 am to 6 pm Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31, the vets will display a field of flags, labeled with the names of soldiers who have died, between Ferry Street Bridge and the DeFazio Bike Bridge. For more information contact Jim Schmidt at 484-6395.
• A free film screening of Unnatural Causes: Bad Sugar is planned for 6 pm Wednesday, June 2, at the Eugene Public Library, sponsored by local nonprofit Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY). The film looks at the environmental and policy issues behind high rates of type II diabetes, as well as causes and effects of diabetes within two Native American communities. This event is the third in the What the Health?! A Film & Forum Series Exploring How Media, Place and Policy Impact Health series. Call 682-4306 or visit www.lchay.org for more information.
• A Coffee Party meeting is planned from 5:30 to 7 pm Wednesday, June 2, at World Café on Blair, to focus on public actions. Contact Loretta at email@example.com
• Mental health activist Howard Falk will speak on “‘Normal’ is Not Okay! Enduring My Diagnosis of Autism” at the MindFreedom Roundtable from 5:30 to 7 pm Wednesday, June 2, at the Growers Market, 454 Willamette. Free and open to the public.
• The final LTD open house on the West Eugene EmX Extension Design Options will be from 4 to 6 pm Thursday, June 3, at the Eugene Public Library Singer Room (second floor). Based on input from an advisory group and a March open house, the focus of the design work is now primarily on pedestrian and bicycle crossings along West 13th Avenue, Chambers Street, and 6th Avenue at Blair Boulevard. See http://wkly.ws/kh for designs being considered.
EW offices will be closed Monday, May 31, for Memorial Day. Our early deadline for reserving display ad space is 10 am Friday, May 28. Questions? Call 484-0519.
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• ODOT will be spot spraying gorse and Scotch broom near Florence through the end of June. ODOT will also be spraying for noxious weeds along all ODOT highways from now through fall. Call District 5 Mike Spaeth at 744-8080, Tony Kilmer at 686-7534 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. See forestlanddwellers.org/News/2010-News/ODOT/
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
In appointing another woman to the Supreme Court, Obama may have been hoping to lessen the silliness in some of its opinions. Certainly a justice equipped with a womb will spot the difference between a corporation and a human being. — Rafael Aldave
• The UO is planning to expand its huge football facilities. The pigskin people say they need more offices and meeting space. (Funny the UO professors say the same thing. Any plans to give the English Department new and better digs?) The new plan means moving lacrosse and soccer over to Autzen and removing 200 spaces from the parking there, but the UO says that’s OK; it’s win-win because they’re going to put in underground parking. No word on where (or if) soccer and lacrosse will be able to play during construction. This is another project of Phitt LLC, with the UO leasing the land to Phil Knight’s corporation and the public unable to use public records laws to find out how much the building costs and if Knight is paying union wages to local workers. What EW’s really excited about is the planned UO Football Hall of Fame and Museum. What’s going to go on display? The laptop Jeremiah Masoli allegedly stole?
• The Oregonian is reporting that Mike Bellotti asked for as much as $7 million from UO before leaving for ESPN, but that number appears nowhere in the R-G reporting so far this week on the big buyout. Oregonian reporter Rachel Bachman does not disclose her source for the $7 million figure and we suspect the R-G couldn’t confirm it. Once again, The Oregonian appears to have better sources than the R-G.
• It was a cold and wet Friday afternoon, May 21, on the lawn north of the library for the pomp and circumstance of the investiture of Richard Lariviere as 16th president of the UO. But it was an opportunity for him, after nearly a year in Eugene, to firmly move the focus away from what he calls the “entertainment,” — the athletic program — to the tough issues of funding and governance of the university by the state of Oregon. Emphasizing his support of the “public university,” Lariviere appears mainly to be forcing the discussion of how to bring more money and more autonomy to the UO. Already, political and other educational advocates are firing away at his draft proposal (see newpartnership.uoregon.edu) but it is generating an important debate in this state. It’s a bold beginning for Larivier’s second year as president of the UO.
• A mid-May salad supper for 40 was the first meal out of the lush garden on city-owned property just east of the U.S. Courthouse (go see it at 8th and Ferry!). UO landscape architecture students, volunteers, released federal prisoners in re-entry programs and friends of the garden filled their plates with greens just harvested into heaping wheelbarrows. Adding homemade dressings; fresh shrimp prepared by Dan Dingfield, project manager for the garden; and French bread, the crowd celebrated the first of many harvests to come, mostly for local agencies like FOOD for Lane County and the Relief Nursery. Ann Bettman, UO professor teaching the landscape architecture class that’s creating the garden, and Lorri Nelson, her colleague, organized the first supper.
• Recently The New York Times featured a story on how a city, “usually seen as an enclave of hippies, marijuana dispensaries and rock climbers — has become a hotbed of capitalism.” Unfortunately, it’s not Eugene, it’s Boulder that’s become a hot place for hippie high-tech start ups. But Eugene could learn an important lesson. Real jobs don’t come from corporate tax breaks and big box sprawl. It’s the quality of life, nature and quirkiness (the counterculture and open-mindedness), that attracts the creative class that makes the high quality jobs of the future.
• A little greenwash anyone? Oil spill giant BP is a major funder of The Nature Conservancy. It’s not uncommon for big nonprofits to take money from major corporations. They get the funding to do good work and the corporation gets to look a little greener. So before you make your next donation to a cause, check out the annual report and financial data. And before you write that check to a big group like TNC, think about giving your cash to one of our many small local nonprofits. They could use the money to help with issues from old-growth logging to air quality.
• Is Idaho a better place than Oregon to do business? The Idaho Department of Commerce makes that claim in its slick new campaign to recruit business and industry away from Oregon, Washington and California. The website www.justmaketheshift.com compares Idaho with its neighbors in terms of property taxes, minimum wage, cost-of-living index, electric rates, etc., and Oregon doesn’t fare so well. But the Tea Partying spud farmers don’t mention that Oregonians are higher educated, healthier, have a lower divorce rate, have more restaurants to choose from, and are less likely to die by gunshot. You can find all sorts of fun comparisons at www.statemaster.com but the statistics don’t include flag fanatics, squirrel eaters, beer bottle throwers, dog beaters, cousin-boinkers or gay-bashers per capita. Idaho has a really low unemployment rate and no estate taxes, but then who wants to live and die in Idaho? (Our apologies to all the good people who are stuck in Idaho and would flee to Oregon if we only had some jobs.)
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
Every Monday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 at Allan Bros Beanery on 5th Avenue, artist Erin Bucklew hosts Muse Art, a gathering of musicians and visual artists. Well-known local jazz, classical, and folk musicians provide both ambience and subject matter for sketchers and painters, who chip in a small fee to pay the players. “It’s an open and friendly group, ranging from highly skilled artists to people learning to draw,” says Bucklew. “The musicians love coming here. Sometimes they use our work for album covers.” After high school in Tacoma, Bucklew studied art at the UW in Seattle and in New York. She moved to San Francisco, became an lesbian activist in the ’70s and ’80s, graduated from SF State, and spent 16 years as a Spanish/bilingual school teacher. After she met her partner Bonnie Mann in 1993, they adopted four kids, then moved to Eugene in 2003, when Mann got a job teaching philosophy at the UO. Bucklew launched Muse Art at the New Day Bakery with folk musician Eric Nicholson in 2004. “For the first few months it was just the two of us,” she says. “Then artists started coming, and now we get five to 10 people.” Interested artists can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or just drop by on a Monday evening.