News Briefs: Heavy Loads Arriving | Local Big Wigs Fund Campaigns | Lehner's Cops Being Sued | Homeless Coalition Reviving | Eugene Tops in Biking | Fair Posts Board Hopefuls | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Lighten Up |
Inspired fundraising or toothless paper?
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Val Rogers
HEAVY LOADS ARRIVING
Despite not getting approval to put its 500,000 pounds of oil-extraction equipment onto U.S. roads, Imperial Oil, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has delivered the first shipment of about 200 loads to the Port of Vancouver.
The Missoulian reports that nine modules were unloaded on Oct. 4 from freight ships. The modules were built in Korea and shipped to Vancouver, Wash., where the port is using its heavy-lift mobile cranes to unload the cargo. According to press reports, the modules are not only bigger than anything the port has handled before, they also have unusual centers of gravity.
After they are unloaded, the modules, intended for oil sands extraction in the Kearl oils sands of Alberta, Canada, will be placed on barges and sent up the Columbia River to Lewiston, Idaho.
While Oregonians largely haven’t fought the oil companies using the Columbia to barge the loads — it appears no environmental laws are being broken there — many have joined in Idaho and Montana’s fight to keep the loads off those states’ highways.
Eugene cyclists have taken note of the controversy. The roadways Imperial Oil wants to use are 175 miles of popular Adventure Cycling routes, according to webikeeugene.org’s Mike Seager, including the Trans America and Lewis and Clark Trails, Great Parks North Trail and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail. Seager blogged about his concerns with how the heavy loads could damage the road surfaces cyclists use, as well as damage the scenic route as a whole.
Not only have environmentalists objected to the use of American roads to facilitate the exploitation of Canadian oil sands, many have expressed concern about the effects the modifications to the roads will have on nearby pristine forests and rivers (see cover story 9/2), and whether oil companies will continue to use the route once its established. Oil sands extraction is said to exacerbate global warming.
Once unloaded, the three-story tall, 200-foot long supersized loads would be put on special trucks and shipped at night for nine days from Idaho to Canada. Nearby residents have expressed concern that the loads, which would take up the entire roadway, could prevent help from getting through to them in an emergency. River advocates fear that if one of the loads, with their unusual centers of gravity, were to overturn into salmon-bearing rivers that border the roads, it would be impossible to get the massive machinery out.
Starting on Dec. 10, the locks at The Dalles and John Day dams on the Columbia will be closed for repairs for more than three months. The oil companies intend to ship loads before and after the dam closures.
But because a separate shipment of similar loads from ConocoPhillips is embroiled in an Idaho Court battle, and because the Montana Department of Transportation is still debating its decision on the loads, there is no date for when the massive shipments might leave Lewiston, though they are scheduled to head up the Columbia in the next two weeks. Four supersized ConocoPhillips loads have sat at Lewiston since May, awaiting an Idaho Supreme Court decision on the issue. — Camilla Mortensen
Local Big Wigs Fund Campaigns
The spigots are open for local big contributors to right-wing politicians this election.
Timber baron Aaron Jones and his Seneca Jones Timber Co. have given a total of $35,000 to Republican Chris Dudley’s campaign for governor. If elected, Dudley has promised huge tax breaks for super rich people like Jones.
Jones/Seneca gave another $25,000 to the “Oregon Victory PAC” which funds Republican candidates for the state Legislature.
The local Giustina timber, real estate and land speculation companies also gave Dudley a total of $40,000. The Rosboro and Murphy lumber companies each gave an additional $25,000 to Dudley, a former NBA star with no elected or business leadership experience. The Murphy plywood mill gave Dudley $15,000.
Carolyn Chambers, a local development, TV and construction magnate, gave $21,050 in “in-kind” contributions to the Lane County Republican Central Committee, which recently paid $17,500 to bring Sarah Palin to Eugene.
Lane County Commissioner candidate Jay Bozievich raked in $12,500 from Murphy, $11,180 from Jones/Seneca and $8,400 from developer Steve Lee. Bozievich helped organize a local libertarian group that called for the elimination of Medicare and the Department of Education and recently organized a Tea Party rally in which he wore a colonial soldier outfit and wig. — Alan Pittman
LEHNER’S COPS BEING SUED
Former Eugene police chief Robert Lehner’s current police department in Elk Grove, Calif., is being sued for allegedly “terrorizing” a family in Elk Grove with excessive force. Lehner was criticized for ignoring abusive police actions in Eugene before he resigned in 2008 to take the Elk Grove police chief job.
Lehner, while in Eugene, refused to follow through on his promise to investigate his department’s handling of the notorious Lara and Magaña sex abuse cases that shamed the department, sent the two police officers to prison, and led to the city being liable for millions of dollars in civil lawsuit settlements. Numerous other incidents and lawsuits involving accusations of police abuse followed under Lehner’s leadership, including the Tasering of a protester. Lehner was also criticized for not cooperating with Eugene’s independent police auditor, and even violating a city ordinance by not reporting a complaint against an officer to the auditor.
Elk Grove resident Brandy Howard testified Sept. 22 that her husband was cleaning his rifle in their garage in June when someone called the police to report suspicious activity. The caller told police that it’s possible the man was just cleaning his rifle, but police responded with a SWAT team, helicopter, canine team and at least seven squad cars.
Howard’s husband was across the street talking to a neighbor when police arrived. He was frisked, and the officer called off the units when he found no crime was committed. “Even so, the SWAT team stormed my garage … It’s wrong to point M16s at the faces of law-abiding citizens while searching their property without a warrant.”
Following Howard’s testimony, Lehner said his department did a full internal review and “determined that the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances.” He would not elaborate due to the pending litigation. No apologies were offered by the chief, according to Dan Gougherty, editor of the Elk Grove News. Howard told the newspaper she might have dropped her lawsuit if the chief had apologized publicly.
See a video of the testimony before the Elk Grove City Council at http://wkly.ws/t6 — Ted Taylor
HOMELESS COALITION REVIVING
Winter’s coming on, and thousands of people who are unsheltered in the Eugene area are in trouble. A small group is meeting in Eugene to try to revive the Homeless Action Coalition, a group that lost its impetus and leadership — some of them died — in 2005.
Oregon’s General Assistance Program was defunded by the Legislature in 2005, thanks to conservative Republicans. “More than 3,000 disabled Oregonians, whose rent had been covered by General Assistance, went homeless that day,” says Jerry Smith, a retired social worker and local longtime advocate for the homeless. “Disabled persons who became impoverished since that time have had no shelter in Eugene.”
Smith says the Eugene Mission, “which does shelter hundreds of impoverished single folks, refuses persons with disabilities. I have called and had people refused a number of times, including a veteran in a wheelchair and a woman with doctor’s orders to lie down during the day because of having had the maximum possible surgeries on her back.”
“Among other things,” he says, “disabled people could not complete the required nightly three minute mass naked showers that terrify so many at the Mission.”
The Egan Warming Center last winter drew the support of more than 500 community volunteers in its second year, and new hope has been kindled. “Still,” Smith says, “it feels that most of the hope is in greater volunteer support rather than an increase in money. We need to keep shelters open for kids by themselves. We need to keep 1st Place Family Development Center open for homeless families with children.”
Springfield is currently ahead of Eugene, says Smith, with “the valiant Marion Malcolm among the leadership there.” Malcolm says she will attend one of the upcoming meetings of the revived group “to share our experiences in Springfield, and will want to collaborate if they get it going. My focus, though, will stay with the Springfield Shelter Rights Alliance.”
Smith can be contacted at 686-6193 or email email@example.com to get on his mailing list. — Ted Taylor
EUGENE TOPS IN BIKING
Eugene has the highest bike commute rate in the nation for a city of its size or larger, according to the U.S. Census.
Nearly 11 percent of workers commuted to work in Eugene by bike in 2009, according to American Community Survey data released this month.
Eugene’s bike commute rate increased by a third in 2009 compared to the 8 percent rate in 2008. But a large part of the increase is within the reported margin of error for the Census survey.
Eugene’s 11 percent biking rate is almost double the 6 percent rate in Portland, the number one large city for bike commuting. Portland has almost four times the population of Eugene.
Eugene trails Davis, Calif., with a 21 percent rate and Boulder, Colo., with a 12 percent bike commute rate. But Eugene is more that twice the size of Davis and is a third larger than Boulder. — Alan Pittman
(This story first appeared at Eugenecycles.com)
FAIR POSTS BOARD HOPEFULS
The Oregon Country Fair is perhaps the first organization in Lane County to post videos of board member candidates talking about the organization, what they can bring to it, and what they would like to see happen with it.
The site has individual statements from each board member candidate and also includes a forum presentation in question and answer format, according to Rich Locus, a volunteer with OCF.
“This media allows our voters from out of town, or those who do not attend the voters forum, to make an informed decision about our candidates,” says Locus. “This site was a large undertaking from many individuals, and we believe we are nurturing the democratic process.”
The videos are available at www.oregoncountryfairforum.org The annual meeting with board elections is Oct. 16.
• Cartoonist and author Ted Rall will speak at 6 pm Thursday, Oct. 7, at the Downtown Eugene Public Library. His new book is The Anti-American Manifesto (see review in EW at http://wkly.ws/tk or in the 9/30 paper).
• A debate between Pat Riggs-Henson and Sid Leiken will be at 11:30 am Friday, Oct. 8, at City Club of Eugene at the Vet’s Club. 1626 Willamette St. The two are candidates for the Springfield position on the Lane County Commission. In the other commission race, Jerry Rust and Jay Bozievich will debate at City Club Oct. 22.
• Pat Riggs-Henson has numerous parties, events and volunteer opportunities coming up that can be found on her Facebook page at http://wkly.ws/ta Likewise, the Facebook page for Jerry Rust is at http://wkly.ws/tb
• The city of Springfield is seeking applications for the current council vacancy for Ward 3, previously held by Terri Leezer. The deadline for submitting applications is 5 pm Oct. 8, with interviews scheduled Oct. 25. The appointment by the City Council will be made Nov. 1. Applications are available at City Hall, 225 Fifth St.
• Psychologist Kathy McMahon will speak on “How to Stay Sane as the World Goes Crazy: Economic Hard Times, Climate Change and the Messy Issues of Oil” from 4 to 6 pm Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Eugene Public Library. McMahon, known as “The Peak Shrink,” has been offering “clinical wisdom, common sense and good humor to an international readership, who’ve shared their stories and sought her advice about managing in these hard times.” Her research project can be found at www.PeakOilBlues.com
• A Peace and Justice Retreat
is planned for 9 am to 3 pm Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Capital Manor Community Center in West Salem. Shelley Moon will be one of the presenters, along with numerous artists and musicians.
For more details, call Paul LaRue at (503) 585-0805.
• Oregon Toxics Alliance is marking 10 years of environmental activism in Oregon with a party from 5 to 7 pm Sunday, Oct. 10, at Davis’ Restaurant, 94 West Broadway. The event is free but please RSVP by email to OTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 465-8860.
More information at www.OregonToxics.org
• A Courthouse Garden work party is planned for 10 am to noon Sunday, Oct. 10, followed by a lunch of black bean soup made from the garden harvest. The event behind the U.S. Courthouse is part of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party for climate action sponsored by The Sierra Club, 350.org and hundreds of other organizations across the world. Contact Lorri Nelson at email@example.com
• Journalist and author Dahr Jamail spent the summer in the Gulf of Mexico covering the BP oil spill and will present a photo slideshow and talk about the disaster at 6 pm Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 182 Lillis Hall on campus.
• International Solidarity Movement activist and author Emily Schick will speak on “Missing Headlines: Stories of Life in Palestine” at 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Harris Hall, 8th and Oak. She will describe her five months in the West Bank and East Jerusalem where she coordinated ISM media, lived on the streets with evicted Palestinian families and suffered an IDF gunshot wound while peacefully demonstrating. Sponsored by the Al-Nakba Awareness Project.
• A fundraiser for Rep. Paul Holvey is planned for 5 to 7 pm Thursday, Oct. 14, at Cowfish, 62 W. Broadway in Eugene. Hosted by Bob Carolan, Ed King and Margaret Hallock. No RSVP required.
• The Friends of Eugene annual meeting will begin at 6:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Eugene Public Library. Jason Miner, the new executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, will speak at 7 pm. See www.FriendsofEugene.org
• BRING Recycling has released a new, 12-minute Reuse It video highlighting the environmental and economic benefits of building materials reuse. It can be seen online at www.reuseitnow.org or copies of the DVD can be ordered for free. The website includes statewide resources, reuse-friendly contractors, used building materials retailers, and more.
• The Eugene Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan project will show their work so far and get feedback from 4:30 to 6:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Monroe Middle School Cafeteria, 2800 Bailey Lane.
• 1,299 U.S. troops killed* (1,291)
• 8,394 U.S. troops injured** (8,041)
• 594 U.S. contractors killed** (521)
• $338.0 billion cost of war ($336.8 billion)
• $96.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($95.8 million)
• 4,421 U.S. troops killed* (4,421)
• 31,934 U.S. troops injured** (31,934)
• 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
• 1,507 U.S. contractors killed** (1,487)
• 107,153 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (107,075)
• $750.0 billion cost of war ($749.3 billion)
• $213.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($213.1 million)
* through Oct. 1, 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)
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
• Warning to hunters: Thousands of acres of timberland have been sprayed recently with herbicides and other pesticides which can make hunters sick from vapors and from contact with sprayed vegetation. Timberland owners do not post before, during or after spraying chemicals on their land. Please contact the timberland owners ahead of time to find out if and when they have sprayed and what chemicals were applied. Deer and elk can also be affected by the chemicals. Please report any sick animals to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 726-3515.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
Parking downtown may now be free but the cost of going there may still be too high.
— Rafael Aldave, Eugene
•• Voter turnout will be a huge factor Nov. 2 in determining which way our county, state and nation will go in the next few years. OK, we say that about every election, but it’s true. Right now we have some lefties in office, locally and nationally, who are struggling to make some progress on our huge social, economic and environmental challenges, but a right-wing backlash could set us back. Voter apathy could give a big advantage to the Tea Partiers and their corporate backers. Deadline for registering is Oct. 12. Ballots go in the mail Oct. 15. Look for our endorsements next week.
• We heard lots of shocking numbers when the three candidates for Oregon state treasurer spoke Oct. 1 at the City Club, but consider this one: Oregon’s top money manager makes $75,000 a year with no raise in sight. We’re reminded that the UO’s top football coach will make $20.5 million over the next six years. Maybe Chip Kelly could give the state a little loan.
• Tip from Garrett Epps, former UO law professor in Eugene last weekend to speak at the library for Banned Books Week: Watch carefully what the U. S. Supreme Court does in this new term in the case of Federal Communications Commission vs. AT&T. This case will show in part how far the new court will go in defining corporations as persons, an essential definition in the ugly Citizens United case that lets corporations spend jillions on political campaigns. Epps is a constitutional scholar who now teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law.
• The Volunteers In Medicine Clinic kicked off its 2011 Annual Campaign Oct. 1 to raise $1.6 million. This year, VIM hopes to raise enough money to support all the services at its free clinic in Springfield. This important facility provided 12,000 patient visits last year and gave patients more than $1 million worth of medicine. More than 450 volunteers work for the clinic, providing needed medical care to many of the 70,000 uninsured people in Lane County. Donate online at www.vim-clinic.org or send a check to VIM, 2260 Marcola Road, Springfield 97477.
• Oregon Toxics Alliance is celebrating its 10th anniversary Oct. 10 (see Activist Alert), and we’ve been following this remarkable Eugene-based group since it formed in 2000. OTA has successfully linked environmental research with advocacy and applied a social justice approach to environmental protection at the state and local levels. OTA has helped empower Latino and low-income families to tackle serious air pollution in west Eugene; raised awareness of the exposure of children to pesticides and spearheaded the 2009 law requiring Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at all Oregon schools; helped push through the phase-out of field burning; campaigned effectively to reduce toxic emissions at gas stations, and stop the practice of topping off gas tanks; and much more. A campaign to revive Oregon’s gutted IPM programs is now under way. To get on OTA’s mailing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org
• What’s Eugene’s biggest tourist attraction? Last week in this column, we reported Brian Obie claiming Fifth Street Public Market was the biggest with one million people a year beating feet through the doors, certainly counting repeat shoppers and gawkers. Kim Still tells us this week that Saturday Market gets 3,000 to 5,000 visitors a day. “Unfortunately, we’re only open 47 days of the year, so we can’t compete on sheer numbers, but when those folks visit Saturday Market, no matter where they lay their dollars down, they’re taking home something made by the person who sells it to them. That’s valuable to Eugene, too.”
And then there are Duck home games. Is sports really tourism? Well, it seems to fit the definition: People come here for an activity, spend money and then go home.
• We run the War Dead listings whenever we have space, and we’ve added some new statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, updating the deaths of U.S. contractors in both Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan. See our source at http://wkly.ws/t3 We’ve always run a statistic for U.S. contractor deaths in Iraq, but only now have we found updates. Why track these numbers? No U.S. soldiers died in Iraq last week, but 20 U.S. contractors died. Eight U.S. soldiers and 73 U.S. contractors died in Afghanistan last week. Not all U.S. contractors are American citizens, but many of them are. Not all carry guns and engage in combat, but many do. Nobody talks about these casualties of war and the human and financial costs. We hire mercenaries and privatize our wars, not so different from the banana republics.
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
“My dad is a real outdoorsman,” says Val Rogers, who developed a passion for outdoor activities when her family moved from Louisiana to Idaho. “I was 10 that year, and we did a hundred-mile horsepack trip.” After high school in Idaho Falls, she started college at Utah State in Salt Lake. “The Hoedads brought me to Oregon,” says Rogers, who planted trees a couple of seasons, then worked for the Forest Service for many years, on jobs ranging from seed collection to watershed analysis. She commuted to OSU and completed a geography masters in 2002. “My project was right here at Buford Park,” says Rogers, who was hired as volunteer coordinator for the Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah in 2006 and recently named development director. “I looked at the flood history of the area, how it was altered by dams.” In 2009, some 750 volunteers helped out at the park, Lane County’s largest. Rogers’ other passion is music. She joined the Eugene Peace Choir in the 1980s, directed the choir from 1999 to 2006, and toured with the vocal group Northern Harmony in 2007. She currently gives workshops on South African song and dance, including a guest-teaching gig with the University Singers and Dance Africa at the UO this fall.