Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Marc Time
CITY TO AXE 13TH AVE. BIKE LANE
The City of Eugene plans to remove one of the most heavily used stretches of bike lane in the city to make room for car parking, according to an application for a state grant.
The grant application calls for removing the one-block bike lane leading to the UO on the south side of 13th Ave. between Alder and Kincaid Streets. The lane is used by a flood of UO students going to class and may be one of the highest concentrations of bike commuters in the nation.
The city grant application would replace the bike lane with back-in horizontal parking.
Instead of the bike lane, the city plans to draw “sharrow” lane markings in the car lane encouraging drivers to “share” the lane with vulnerable cyclists. Unlike bike lanes, sharrow markings carry no legal weight for motorists.
An earlier city proposal of an option to replace bike lanes on Alder St. with sharrows drew boos and hisses from the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) at a March meeting. Members expressed concerns for the safety of cyclists forced to share a lane with inexperienced college-aged drivers.
The city’s plan would have those drivers backing into parking spaces on a narrow street already crowded with bikes, pedestrians, buses and cars. The city did not provide the BPAC with information about its plans to remove the bike lane on 13th at the March meeting.
The plan would maintain the existing, west-bound bike lane on the north side of 13th. The plan also calls for centralized parking pay station machines. Lost bike parking at pole meters would be replaced with on-street bike corrals.
The plan would improve space for pedestrians with sidewalks widened by five feet on the south side of the street and a bulb-out pedestrian crossing. But most of the right of way would be prioritized for cars and car storage.
Eugene is one of 90 cities to apply for the competitive state grants, one of the few available sources of state funding dedicated to bike and pedestrian improvements. The cities applied for a total of $37 million in funding, but the state has only $5 million to give out.
Eugene applied for a total of $707,000 for its project. The project also includes adding a two-way cycletrack to Alder. The BPAC and the local GEARs cycling group supported the Alder cycletrack, but the grant includes no positive comments from cyclists on removing the 13th Ave. bike lane.
It’s unclear if removing the bike lane will now jeopardize the city’s entire Alder/13th plan. The city’s grant application states that its project cannot be divided into two phases. It doesn’t appear that the state has ever given a pedestrian or bicycle improvement grant that included removing a bike lane.
Removing the bike lane could set a precedent for less safe and inviting biking in Eugene. Already, the city has proposed removing planned bike lanes on a future riverfront avenue and replacing the bike space with space “shared” with cars. —Alan Pittman
(A version of this story first appeared at Eugenecycles.com)
GMO SUGAR BEETS TO WAIT A BEAT
Chemical giant Monsanto’s genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” sugar beets have to wait awhile thanks to an Aug. 13 federal court ruling. Opponents of genetically modified organisms (GMO) like Monsanto’s alfalfa, sugar beets and corn are hoping that the pause becomes permanent.
The Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds and the Sierra Club sued to rescind the USDA’s approval of Roundup Ready sugar beet seed and Judge Jeffrey S. White ruled in Federal District Court in San Francisco that the seeds could no longer be planted.
The judge did not permanently ban the planting of GMO sugar beet seeds, but the ruling means future planting of the seeds is forbidden until the USDA submits an environmental impact statement, which can take several years.
Oregon produces almost all the sugar beet seed used in the U.S. and one million acres of biotech beets have already been planted. The judge also ruled that crops currently in the ground could be harvested and made into sugar, so you might still be putting a spoonful of GMO sweetness into your coffee in the near future, unless you make sure that you’re using the kind made from sugarcane.
According to the ruling, the USDA and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's decision to deregulate a variety of genetically engineered sugar beets without preparing an environmental impact statement violated the National Environmental Policy Act.
Organic farmers, food safety advocates and conservation groups argue that GMO crops such as sugar beets can cross-pollinate with crops like chard and table beets. This means an organic farmer could risk having GMO sugar beet seeds genetically enter into organic chard or beets if the wind blew the pollen from the GMO farmer’s field into the organic one. This summer biotech canola was found growing in the wild in North Dakota. — Camilla Mortensen
RADICAL READERS RAISE RESOURCES
In search of some radical reading material? Bad Egg Books, the local anarchist infoshop, is holding a 48-hour “Summa’ Time Read-A-Thon” fundraiser Aug. 27-29, both in the shop and at home.
“It can be independent, but we’re going to be open the whole 48 hours,” says volunteer Cheryl Rivers Hailey. “People can come and hang out and read with us, and maybe afterwards share stuff that they thought was really good.”
The infoshop, located at 13th and Oak, consists of a reading room and a library with a sizable archive of approximately a thousand ‘zines. Its volumes cover topics like feminism and gender, do-it-yourself, the prison industrial complex, radical fiction, environmental issues, historical subjects and the black liberation struggle. Bad Egg shares the building with a vegan soul food café — the Cornbread Café — as well as an artists’ gallery and classroom.
In order to fund the collectively run, all-volunteer infoshop, Bad Egg Books sells a few stickers and patches but mostly relies on donations and fundraising to meet its goal of providing cheap or free radical reading. “People can get sponsorship by the page or by the minute. and sponsors can also indicate a maximum pledge,” Hailey says of the read-a-thon. “We don’t have a goal right now; we just need some help, and it’s a fun way to do it, too.”
Those wishing to participate in the read-a-thon can pick up sponsorship packets at the infoshop, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. — Shannon Finnell
• Robert Whitaker, author of Mad in America 2002 and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, will speak at 7 pm Friday, Aug. 20, in the Eugene Hilton Ballroom. Sponsored by MindFreedom International with assistance from LaneCare. Free.
• Eugene’s annual Summer Garden Party to benefit Basic Rights Oregon will be from 2 to 5 pm Saturday, Aug. 21 in Eugene. Suggested donation $25. For details, email email@example.com or call (503) 222-6151 x 118 or visit http://bit.ly/eugeneparty
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
• East Lane District: Oregon Forest Management Services (896-3757) will ground spray 621 acres for Giustina Land and Timber (345-2301) with 6 herbicides including Garlon 4 near Chinook Salmon streams starting August 13th (ODF Notice No. 2010-771-00687).
• Near Pheasant Creek (Coastal Coho Salmon stream): Seneca Jones (461-6245; 607-7299) will ground spray 54 acres with Polaris AC and Chopper (imazapyr) herbicides starting August 23rd (No. 2010-781-00698).
• Near Greenleaf/Deadwood Area: Dole Land Management (James Dole 914-8330) will spray roadsides with Garlon and Accord herbicides plus Mor-Act (ether) adjuvant for Rosboro LLC (746-8411) near Hula and Johnson Creeks starting August 25th (No. 781-00714).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
• 4,418 U.S. troops killed* (4,417)
• 31,907 U.S. troops injured** (31,902)
• 185 U.S. military suicides* (updates NA)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (updates NA)
• 106,067 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (106,047)
• $741.3 billion cost of war ($740.0 billion)
• $210.8 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($210.4 million)
• 1,214 U.S. troops killed* (1,204)
• 7,416 U.S. troops injured** (7,285)
• $323.7 billion cost of war ($321.6 billion)
• $92.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($91.5 million)
* through Aug. 13, 2010; 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 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
If global warming is a conspiracy, why do so few Tea Party folks believe it?
— Rafael Aldave, Eugene
• It was plain to see that Phil Knight’s exclusive Jock in the Box was lavish, but $42 million! Holy shit! Kudos to the Oregonian for exposing the incredible price per square foot beyond the moat around the “study” center for athletes. In Just-do-it-land, a small 1,200 square foot house for a jock would cost $1.3 million. Only a rich idiot would donate so much to such a narrow cause while other charity needs are so great. Then again, maybe we’re all idiots. How much of a tax write off did we give the billionaire for this?
• The big plan for saving Civic Stadium appears to have stalled. How about a simpler version? The school district could make money by selling the land for the parking lots and behind the outfield wall eyesore for commercial development. The schools and city could pool their money to keep the big field for much needed playing space, similar to what happened with the high school fields. All or most of the historic stands could be sold for a low price to a non-profit that would fundraise to preserve and maintain them. The nonprofit could explore using the field for professional soccer or other exhibition events. Phil Knight, where are you on this one? Doesn’t the UO need a new soccer field? Maybe the Emeralds, struggling to get fans to their sterile new stadium, could even be lured back to play a few games.
• Gazpacho, anyone? That’s the offer from Lorri Nelson, Eugene architect and UO adjunct instructor who is directing the courthouse garden at 8th and Ferry this summer and fall. She’s looking for volunteers to harvest, plant, weed and mulch, water, make compost and maybe stir up cold soup for fun before landscape architecture students return after fall term begins Sept. 28. Precise times: Thurs, Aug. 19, 4-6 p.m.; Sat. Aug. 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Thurs., Sept 2, 9 and 16, 4-6 p.m. Volunteers can email Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or just show up. The garden on city land east of the federal courthouse already has produced boxes of kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, lettuce, parsley, onions, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, beans, beets and carrots for the Eugene Mission, Relief Nursery, HIV Alliance and Catholic Community Services. Go see the garden. It’s Willamette Valley summer at its best.
• Ahoy Eugeneans, want to join the Pirate Party? International Talk Like a Pirate Day started in Oregon (Sept. 19, you have some time to practice your arrrrs and avasts), so it’s really no surprise that the Beaver State has embraced the Pirate Party. The Pirate Party isn’t “the naughty kind of pirate,” or so says the Oregon website (www.arregon.org/home), and it’s not an official party yet — it needs 21,000 signatures to become one in Oregon. But it does have an all-important Facebook page and a platform: It’s against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and against the concept of online piracy and digital rights management, and it’s pro-reform of copyright, trademark and patent laws. It’s also pro-peaceful assembly, the right to privacy and EW’s personal favorite: a right to a free press. Arrrrrr!
• Judge Edward Leavy, a federal jurist from Oregon who started his legal career in Eugene, was on the panel that decided earlier this week to stay same-sex marriages in California until the next levels of review. The three-judge ruling was unanimous. The Oregonian reported that a new panel on a quick calendar will consider Judge Walker’s ruling that the Prop 8 ban of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. All signs point to an eventual decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, probably not a good route if you believe in marriage equality, as we do. Judge Leavy was appointed to the U.S., Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit in 1987 by President Reagan. He started practice in Eugene in 1953, moving up the legal ladder after appointment to the Lane County district court in 1957. On senior judge status, he lives in Charboneau, Oregon.
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
“Music is my thing,” says Marc Gunther. Gunther left his Leave-it-to-Beaver childhood and religious-studies BA behind in Connecticut when he moved west and adopted the band-name Marc Time to play drums with The Jars in SF. “We opened for The Dead Kennedys.” A record collector since childhood, Time was a DJ in college, then introduced punk rock to UC Berkeley’s KALX in the mid-70s. As the Reverend Marc Time, he launched his Sunday Morning Hangover music and talk show on UO radio station KWVA shortly after moving to Junction City with his wife Barbara in 2002. “I’ll be a celebrity judge at this year’s slug queen contest,” he notes. In January of this year, after he had posted photos of empty downtown storefronts on Facebook, Time met with artist Peter Herley and photographer Paula Goodbar to found the Eugene Storefront Art Project. Since March 1, when sculptor David Miller installed the first exhibit at 857 Willamette, ESAP has sponsored 15 exhibits by 30 local artists in the windows of vacant stores. In the photograph, Time points out the work of Junction City artist Sandra Kay Bulley, on view at 187 6th Avenue in Junction City, ESAP’s first exhibit outside Eugene. Keep track of ESAP at esapblog.blogspot.com.