News Briefs: DeFazio Debates the 'Wingnut' | Skateboards Illegal On Streets? | Good Night, Sleep Tight | UO Singers Get Big Win | Wildish Land, More Green Island Saved? | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Jerril Nilson
DEFAZIO DEBATES THE ‘WINGNUT’
“I’ve got two big ones right here in Springfield,” said Congressman Peter DeFazio at least week’s City Club debate. He was referring to his dogs, Bilbo and Rusty, but it also worked as a subtle hint at his gutsy, independent and sometimes anti-status quo votes in Congress.
|DeFazio, Beilstein and Robinson at City Club. Photo by Ted Taylor|
DeFazio, Green Party candidate Mike Beilstein and Republican candidate Art Robinson (see EW’s 8/12 “Wingnut for Congress” story) met in one of the rowdiest City Club forums of the year on Sept. 10. Beilstein’s presence served more to call attention to his stance on issues of peace and environmental sustainability, than as his role as a serious candidate. “If they were only going to invite people who were going to win, they would only have invited Peter,” he said to enthusiastic applause from DeFazio’s supporters. Beilstein is simultaneously running to retain his seat on the Corvallis City Council.
The almost 600 attendees seemed evenly split between DeFazio supporters and Robinson sign-wavers, though Beilstein did get applause of his own. Despite pleas from City Club organizers to keep audience noise to a minimum, each contingent weighed in with not only clapping, but also sometimes shouting for or against their candidates.
Robinson tended to spend his two minutes of speaking time complaining about a lack of debate — he has been agitating for a lengthy Lincoln-Douglas style debate outside of the four arranged forums — leading audience members to call out, “Answer the question!”
Robinson used the tactic of calling DeFazio a career politician. DeFazio used Robinson’s own words against him, pointing to times he has called for abolishing public education, disposing of nuclear waste in the oceans, and expressed his disbelief in climate change in his newsletter Access to Energy.
Robinson admitted he would like to abolish the Department of Education, saying that government has “grown like Topsy,” an archaic phrase that references a scene in Uncle Tom’s Cabin where the young slave girl Topsy in a discussion of God answers the question “Do you know who made you?” with “’Nobody, as I knows on,’ replies Topsy, ‘I spect I grow’d.’”
Robinson has also written on his webpage for the home schooling curriculum he sells that the home schooling movement “may become the most important single force that Christians can employ to take America back from the anti-Christian forces that currently control American public life.”
Robinson avoided an audience question on his beliefs on nuclear radiation. However he told EW in an August interview that he believes low levels of radiation are good for you, a theory called radiation hormesis that most nuclear scientists do not condone. His Access to Energy newsletter has called for using nuclear waste in the concrete used in building houses, to give people a healthy dose of radiation. — Camilla Mortensen
SKATEBOARDS ILLEGAL ON STREETS?
Most Eugeneans by now have figured out that riding bicycles or skateboards on sidewalks downtown can earn a warning or even a ticket from the cops. So skateboarders need to stay on the streets and cruise along with bikes and cars. Right? Not really.
Longtime skateboarder Tyee Kyvelos tells EW that he was given a warning last week by police officer Tom Schulke for riding his board on the street downtown, and was told he would lose his board if he did it again. But Kyvelos, a cook at Aminata’s Bar & Grill downtown, lives downtown and says his skateboard is his primary source of transportation. What’s up?
The Eugene City Code (4.830) says streets between the curbs are “reserved for vehicular traffic,” except for pedestrians, parking and garbage containers on collection day. The code does not define what a “vehicle” might be. But another code (5.450) is all about skateboards.
“Agent Schulke may have used section 2(d) as the basis for the warning,” says police spokesperson Melina McLaughlin. The section says “No person shall ride a skateboard … In the portion of the street designated for automobile traffic, except when crossing the street in a crosswalk or at a right angle.” Numerous other skateboard offenses are listed in the code.
Kyvelos is angry enough at the police warning that he’s organizing a petition to the City Council that will be distributed at Saturday Market and around town. He does not have a phone number but he is on Facebook. — Ted Taylor
GOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT
There’s a chance that the bed bugs will bite.
While Jeff Birdsall of Lane County Public Health doesn’t know of any specific outbreaks in Eugene, he says, “It can be assumed that they’re around because they’re one of those things that are out there, in Oregon, in the United States.” Infestations in Portland indicate that the well-traveled insects may have already made a voyage to Lane County.
Bed bugs leave small red welts on the skin, but the pests usually don’t rouse sleepers because they inject a dose of anesthetic into the skin while they suck. “Fortunately, they don’t carry infectious diseases that they could transmit to people,” Birdsall says, listing the only great thing about bed bugs. This is also why there has not been a large-scale eradication campaign to wipe out these creepy-crawlies.
Before panicking, it’s important to be sure that any insect visitors to your bed are truly bed bugs. “They’re small flat insects that can be a kind of rusty red color,” Birdsall says. “You can generally see them behind the seam of the mattress.” The pests also hide in bed frames. Birdsall recommends this page of EPA tips to those who think they may have bed bugs: http://wkly.ws/ry
The EPA recommends not going crazy with chemicals, and first using integrated pest management to reduce or avoid pesticide use. The EPA also recommends checking in with your local extension agent to see if the bugs in your home really are bed bugs. Unfortunately Lane County doesn’t have much of an extension service any more.
Extremes in temperature and starvation can both kill bed bugs. Clothes dryers on high settings are typically hot enough to kill bed bugs on clothes and bedding. Manufacturers make mattress encasements meant to protect against bed bugs. Because the vermin can live without food for long periods, the encasements must remain in place for a year. In addition, cleaning up the clutter where bed bugs hide and regularly washing and vacuuming can help.
If furniture must be thrown out as a result of an irreversible bed bug invasion, it’s best to destroy it so it can’t be adopted and spread the infestation. After all, what goes around comes around. — Shannon Finnell
UO SINGERS GET BIG WIN
The same night the UO Ducks football team beat Tennessee, the UO Gospel Singers took first place in the Walt Disney World National Gospel Choir Festival in Orlando, Fla.
Andiel Brown, director of the choir (one of three gospel choir classes available at the UO), and also a former Duck football player, says, “There is so much about this story that makes for good reading. We were the only choir from west of the Mississippi, we were the only university group, and we were the only choir that was predominately white.”
“We went into the heart of the South and took away the grand prize and brought it back to Eugene,” says Brown. “I would like to make the community aware of the history that was made here this past weekend and thank everyone for their financial support in making this all a possibility.”
WILDISH LAND, MORE GREEN ISLAND SAVED?
What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to … preserve fish and wildlife habitat in Oregon. Two major conservation acquisitions are being announced, and it looks like that in spite of the bureaucratic tendency to tangle things up, the 1,270 Wildish parcel of land near Mount Pisgah at the confluence of the Coast and Middle Fork of the Willamette River may finally be preserved, and a portion of McKenzie River Trust’s Green Island, that is a currently operating gravel pit, will be acquired and move into restoration by the end of October.
|MRT's Brandi Ferguson at Green Island. Photo by Trask Bedortha.|
Bureaucratically, both are part of Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)’s funding for mitigation for impacts resulting from the construction and operation of its dams on the Willamette being negotiated with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC). In other words, since the dams messed up a lot of the Willamette, BPA has to pay to improve other parts of it. Think if it as carbon credit trading, but with rivers. The 1980 Northwest Power Act requires the mitigation.
A draft deal issued Sept. 10 with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) would preserve these Lane County areas and others in the Willamette Valley.
BPA sells the electricity generated by the dams, and the Army Corps of Engineers operates them for flood control. The mitigation plan is also linked to a lawsuit filed by native tribes against BPA, and an attempt to improve longstanding issues with the dams’ effects on endangered species listed salmon on the Willamette called for in a 2008 biological opinion.
ODFW called for 34,282 acres, while Bonneville estimated 17,791 was enough. The groups settled at 26,537 acres. So far 6,699 acres have been protected and another 2,958 are expected to be settled this fall, including the Green Island addition, leaving about 16,880 acres in other projects to be decided.
The more than 1,000-acre Green Island and the 58-acre addition, according to MRT Executive Director Joe Moll, is located at the confluence of the McKenzie and mainstem Willamette Rivers and is habitat for ESA-listed upper Willamette River Chinook and Oregon chub. “It’s going to be a great addition,” says Moll, “and integral to restoration of the old McKenzie channel.”
According to BPA, “it is anticipated that the restoration activities on this property can serve as a model for shallow gravel pit restoration elsewhere in the Willamette Valley.”
The addition is the site of a gravel operation, Coburg Aggregate, owned by Douglas Melevin, and it has caused controversy among its neighbors on Coburg Loop Road. The gravel site had been dormant until July, when it began to provide gravel for work on Beltline. Neighbors met with Oregon Rep. Phil Barnhart last month over concerns for the safely of their street with gravel trucks running non-stop. The neighbors have also alleged possible permit violations ranging from air quality to flood plain issues.
Moll says not only will habitat benefit when MRT acquires the land in conservation, but the gravel mining will stop. Though, he says even after the acquisition, the gravel company has right to continue processing and removing all the rock it has pulled out of the ground, and would have a year to remove it, unless other arrangements can be made.
Moll says the BPA has already approved the funding, and the Green Island addition will go through by the end of October, even if the BPA/ODFW mitigation plan stalls.
Local group Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah had been trying to acquire and restore the Wildish site since 1994. Wildish Land Co., had maintained it could build 400 houses on the site and that it’s worth $26 million, a price too high for cash-strapped Lane County. According to a decision memorandum from the NPCC, the price for the property will come in at $23,443,370. The funds would come from BPA, with $2 million from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Under the agreement, BPA would hold a conservation easement on the property, protecting it from any future development. The Nature Conservancy, which is the purchaser of the land, says it will restore it, then transfer it to public ownership.
Currently BPA plans to make the purchase, contingent upon agreements from tribal partners, whether NOAA Fisheries on will give them biological opinion credit, and if the project meets criteria for their overall mitigation duties, according to BPA documents. The biological opinion credit is that carbon-credit type thing again: The Willamette dams hurt upper Willamette River Chinook and steelhead by blocking access to a large amount of their historical habitat upstream of the dams and by messing up their remaining downstream habitat. So BPA makes up for it through things like improving fish passage and water temperature, and in this case, habitat restoration. Wildish’s former gravel pits will become wetlands.
BPA says the Wildish land is the likely home of 26 focal species, some of them ESA listed, including the Fender’s blue butterfly, northern red-legged frog, red tree vole and Western gray squirrel.
The BPA/ODFW agreement brings together a number of agencies in a potential bureaucratic tangle for decision making, but Moll says it’s “trying to bring some rigor and efficiency to things.”
There’s a 30-day comment period on the ODFW/BPA agreement. To read the full document and comment, go to http://wkly.ws/rz -— Camilla Mortensen
Go to bufordpark.org for more on the Wildish land
• The old Taco Time building at the corner on Broadway and Willamette is the focus of the meeting of the Downtown Neighborhood Association from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Atrium Building, 99 W. 10th Ave. Dustin Locke of Master Capital Management and Alan Evans of Evans, Elder & Brown will speak at around 6:15 pm with discussion to follow. See EW story and photo Jan. 14 at http://wkly.ws/rw
• The local United Coalition of Color will be meeting the third Thursday of each month to “address disproportionate minority contact in Lane County.” The next meeting will be from 5 to 6:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 16, at the ORI building, 1715 Franklin Blvd. For more information or to get on the mailing list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
• Lane County Democrats will hold their next monthly meeting at 6:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 16, at EWEB, 500 E. 4th Ave.
UO professor and author Michael Russo will speak on sustainable business practices at 6 pm Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Eugene Public Library downtown. See http://bit.ly/batLyZ
• A Civil Liberties Defense Center “Local Harvest Feast” fundraising dinner is planned for 6 pm Saturday, Sept. 18, at Hendricks Park. Tickets are $25 for individuals, $40 per couple or $50 per family. RSVP at 687-9180 or visit www.cldc.org
• The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides is holding its annual fundraising event “An Evening with NCAP” from 3 to 7 pm Saturday, Sept. 18, at King Estate Winery. The event will feature gourmet food, wine, beer, live music by Gypsy Moon and a children’s performance by Dana Abel of Misty River. For information or to donate an auction item and purchase tickets, contact Shelly Connor at 344-5044, ext. 17, or visit www.pesticide.org
• The Al-Nakba Awareness Project is sponsoring two Eugene appearances by Ken O’Keefe, ex-U.S. Marine who disarmed an Israeli commando during their May 31 attack on the international Free Gaza flotilla. O’Keefe will provide his eyewitness account of these events, describe deceptions in the BBC Panorama program for which he was interviewed, and propose a new approach based on universal human rights. The programs are scheduled at 7 pm Monday, Sept. 20 at Harris Hall, 8th and Oak; and 3 pm Tuesday, Sept. 21, at Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette. See www.al-nakba-history.com
• Sanskrit scholar and UO President Richard Lariviere will be the guest speaker on the topic of “Dharma & Karma” at the sixth annual Interfaith Community Breakfast at 7 am Tuesday, Sept. 21 (International Peace Day), at the Hilton. For more information, call 344-1425. Ticket prices vary. Purchase tickets online at www.interfaitheugene.org
• A public hearing on the J.H. Baxter renewal of an air contaminant discharge permit will be from 7 to 9 pm Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Red Cross building, 862 Bethel Dr. in Eugene. An informational session begins at 6 pm. Read about the permit at www.lrapa.org or call 736-1056 ext. 210 for more information.
• Oregon Attorney General John Kroger will be the speaker at the League of Women Voters fall luncheon, which begins at 11:30 am Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Mallard Banquet Hall, 725 West 1st St. in Eugene. Kroger’s presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be at 12:15 pm. RSVP for lunch by sending a check for $12 to the LWV office, 338 West 11th Ave., Suite 101, Eugene 97401.
• Campaigning has begun in earnest for Democrats Val Hoyle and Chris Edwards who are both on the November ballot. Hoyle was appointed to represent House District 14 last fall when Edwards was appointed to represent Oregon Senate District 7. To help out with their campaigns, visit www.valhoyle.com or www.chrisedwardsfororegon.com or call Torrey Samson at 787-9431.
• The Eugene 4J School Board met Sept. 15 to approve the final version of a Request for Proposals to dispose of the Civic Stadium property, including a timeline, criteria for evaluating proposals, and more. If approved as drafted, the RFP will be issued Oct. 1, with proposals due by Feb. 1, 2011. To comment on the RFP or make a proposal, visit http://wkly.ws/ru
• The Many Rivers Group of the Sierra Club will sponsor a talk by Lisa Arkin of the Oregon Toxics Alliance on “Environmental Laws Killed and Buried from View: Can Oregon Lead Again?” at 7 pm Thursday, Sept. 30, at the Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St. Contact is Sally Nunn, email@example.com
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
• Eastern Lane area: Washburn Contract Services, (503) 831-1593, will ground spray 17 miles of roadsides with six herbicides for Giustina Land & Timber (345-2301) starting Sept. 17 (ODF No.771-00755).
• Siuslaw River: Malcolm Wilson (343-4167) will backpack spray using Garlon 4 next to Siuslaw River (Coho salmon stream requiring a 60 foot buffer) in Sections 5, 7, and 8 of Township 18S, Range 8W starting Sept. 24 (No. 781-00777).
• ODOT is spraying knapweed and knotweed: along Highway 36 this week. Sections which have seed head removed under permit will not be sprayed.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
•• The health insurance industry lost its fight against the Obama health-care plan in March, despite spending millions in lobbying. But it hasn’t given up. Now it is posting enormous increases in premiums and blaming them on the huge costs it claims it faces because of the plan. Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon has announced a 17.l percent boost, even though by its own figures the Obama plan is responsible for only 3.4 points, or one-fifth of that, according to The Wall Street Journal. ODS of Oregon wants a 20.7 percent increase; but only 2.9 percent is blamed on the new plan. It is happening all around the country. Celtic Insurance of Wisconsin and North Carolina wants an 18 percent rise; only a third is blamed on the Obama plan. The patsy Oregon insurance regulators probably will knock off a point or two from the requests, but big increases are an almost certainty.
• Pete Seda’s conviction last week for violating federal tax laws will be appealed and we hope the verdict will be overturned. We know Seda as a peaceful and honorable man and it’s a stretch to believe he has a “dark side” with ill intentions, as his prosecutor speculated. A very peculiar, gloating FBI press release Sept. 10 over and over again linked Seda’s conviction to victory in the fight against Muslim “terrorism.” There was no proof presented that Seda himself ever advocated or supported violent extremism, and yet that was what the press release was all about; and the mainstream media ran with it. We seriously question whether this trial and verdict were really about tax laws. Would a white Christian who inadvertently mishandled money that may or may not have funded neo-Nazi terrorists in Europe get the same kind of high-profile trial? Let Seda go home. This gentle man doesn’t belong behind bars, and he certainly doesn’t deserve the terrorist label.
• An amusing difference between liberal Oregon and uptight Tennessee last weekend was visible in the cheerleaders’ outfits. The Oregon women wore low-cut tops, showing plenty of cleavage; the Tennessee women’s tops went right to their throats.
• Opposition to LTD’s plans to expand EmX bus rapid transit out West 11th is getting some media attention now that “NO BUILD” signs are up (see earlier stories and comments in our web archives). It’s good to scrutinize the plans and their short-term impact on businesses, but let’s focus on long-term solutions. Mass transit must absolutely be in our future. How will people get around our valley 20 to 50 years from now, particularly when energy is even more expensive and if (or when) our population doubles or quadruples? The planned EmX routes are key to our transportation future. We predict trolley cars and/or light rail will someday take over the EmX dedicated lanes and their raised boarding stations.
The opposition is also saying LTD should not accept federal funds for this project since it all comes out of taxpayers’ pockets. Well then, should we also reject federal funds for highways and bridges? How about federal payments to Lane County from Secure Rural Schools funding? Federal grants to UO and OSU? Extended unemployment benefits? Mass transit in smaller metro areas is an excellent and overdue long-term investment by Uncle Sam. Let’s be grateful for it.
• We don’t keep track of who reads our blog, but we did notice a big spike in hits last week when we posted about the National Republican Senatorial Committee press release blooper: The NRSC critiqued Sen. Ron Wyden for being out of touch with the Evergreen State. Turns out the NRSC is the one out of touch, since Oregon’s the Beaver State. The R-G didn’t pick up on that story, but someone passed along our blog link to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. Check out Olbermann’s mockery at blogs.eugeneweekly.com
• Last week in this column we wrote about the Lane County Commission dropping out of the Association of Oregon Counties in protest of secret meetings. We meant to say the Association of O&C Counties, which is a very different animal. The AOCC, under the leadership of Douglas County Commissioner Doug Robertson, is notorious for not only lack of transparency, but also for blatant pro-timber lobbying supported by taxpayer funding. Not so long ago AOCC members were talking seriously about selling off federal resource lands cheap to private timber companies.
• Where have all the roses gone? They are still there, for now. Owen Memorial Rose Garden staff start may pulling some of the park’s 4,500 roses. Jesse Cary-Hobbs, interim landscape, medians and floral gardens supervisor for Parks and Open Space says a one-third cut in staffing levels at the garden in the FY 2011 city budget means, “There is a possibility that roses and other ornamental plantings outside of the garden proper may be converted to turf grass and/or native plantings to reduce maintenance costs.” Cary-Hobbs says, “For example north of Owen Rose Garden in the area along the river, some plantings may be converted to lower-maintenance alternatives.” For questions or ideas on how you can save the roses, call Cary-Hobbes at 682-4824.
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
“I learned to drive a ‘38 Ferguson tractor at age 8,” says Jerril Nilson, who developed her work ethic early in life. “I worked on my grandpa’s farm since I was little.” The co-editor of an award-winning high school paper in Lewiston, Idaho, Nilson moved to Eugene after graduation to enter the UO Journalism School. She worked for The Daily Emerald as a reporter, photographer, editor and typesetter for the three years it took her to earn a degree, then four years more as an employee. She worked as a typesetter, an art director, and a marketing specialist during the ’80s, then started her own company, JLN Design, in 1990. “I’ve had some of the same clients for 20 years,” she says. “I’ve never had to pound the pavement.” A parade enthusiast since fifth grade, when she put on a backyard carnival, Nilson marched in the Eugene Celebration parade with the satirical group the Rickies from the 1985 until their last appearance in 2002. This year, in her first campaign for EC royalty, she won the title as Queen Slugasana. “My charity focus is Slow Food Eugene and the School Garden Project,” she says. “We’ll have a big event in the spring.” Look for her also at next month’s First Friday Art Walk and other community events during her “rain.”