News Briefs: Guns in Face, But Not Laws | Celebrating MLK as a Day of Service | Meter Hoops Replace Lost Bike Parking | The Bear Necessities | Clear Water and Clean Water | Activist Alert | Early Deadlines | Lighten Up |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
State of Eugene
Piercy touts downtown projects, celebrates city
Raising Cain In Arizona
GUNS IN FACE, BUT NOT LAWS
So would the crazy guy who laid waste to a congresswoman, federal judge, 9-year-old girl and crowd at a strip mall in Arizona with a spray of gunfire from his 30-round Glock be able to do the same in Oregon?
Hell yeah. Oregons gun control laws are almost as weak as Arizonas. Oregons laws rate a 17 out of 100 from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. By comparison Arizona rates a 2 out of 100.
Shooter Jared Loughner was rejected by the military and thrown out of college for being mentally deranged and/or on drugs, but that didnt stop him from getting a deadly weapon in Arizona, a state which doesnt even require a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
In Oregon, you need a permit, but the law requires almost no background investigation, unlike some states. In Oregon, it appears even those known to be insane may legally carry a concealed weapon almost anywhere unless there is a court order on that person explicitly forbidding it.
Oregon also has no state ban on the large capacity assault clips used in Arizona and at another recent act of terrorism in Fort Hood, Texas. Oregon also bans city and county gun laws, and Gov. John Kitzhaber and the Legislature did little to tighten gun control after Kip Kinkel sprayed the Thurston High School cafeteria with bullets in 1998.
Congress had prohibited such assault clips at the federal level, but let the law expire in 2004. The Brady Campaign has called for renewing the law in the wake of a fellow Congress member getting shot through the face, but with Democrats competing with Republicans for gun enthusiasts votes, pundits dont see the reform getting much traction.
Local Congressman Peter DeFazio, who earned a B grade from the NRA for opposing gun control and a 50 percent rating from the Brady Campaign for supporting gun control in the most recent rankings, said of the gunned-down member of Congress, "Gabby is a stronger defender of the Second Amendment than I am.” DeFazio held a press conference in Eugene this week.
The NRA gave Gabrielle Giffords a D+ rating. "I have a Glock 9 millimeter, and Im a pretty good shot,” Giffords recently told The New York Times while campaigning in her pro-NRA district.
DeFazio said he has a concealed weapons permit but wouldnt "broadcast” whether or not he would actually carry a gun. "I had far more death threats as a county commissioner than in many of my years in Congress,” he said.
Gun advocates have argued that the best protection for shootings like in Arizona is more guns. But its unclear how a concealed carrier would be able to draw fast enough to shoot someone whos already taken aim with a weapon capable of firing up to 30 rounds in a matter of seconds. ã Alan Pittman and Shannon Finnell
CELEBRATING MLK AS A DAY OF SERVICE
Eugene and the rest of U.S. celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Jan. 17, two days after Kings birthday. Ronald Reagan signed the legislation in 1983, but it wasnt until the year 2000 that all 50 states chose to recognize the federal holiday.
"Some people think its a black holiday, but we want it to be a people holiday,” said Niyah Dotts, organizer for a free MLK event from 4 to 6 pm Sunday, Jan. 16, at the Eugene Hilton.
Dotts is excited that HONEY Inc. (Honoring Our New Ethnic Youth) is celebrating its 25th year hosting MLK events. The family-oriented event will feature youth performers from many genres. The guest speaker will be author John A. Andrews.
Other MLK events include the free "Voices of Our Youth: Tomorrows Leaders,” at 6 pm Monday at the Hult Center, featuring slam poets Justin Long-Moton and Jay Davis, and Springfields MLK march and celebration, also on Monday, which kicks off with a march from Springfield Justice Center at 1 pm and goes to Springfield Middle School where the celebration continues. More information at www.calclane.org
King said, "Lifes most urgent and persistent question is: What are you doing for others?” In 1994, Congress transformed MLK Day into a national day of community service. There are several opportunities in the Eugene area to honor Kings legacy by giving back to the community
You can volunteer to prep downtown Eugenes youth center (aka the Youth MOVE Center) at 965 Oak Alley for its relaunch by repainting the interior of the center from 9 am to 2 pm. For more information call Lyndsey Tucker at 844-6134.
UOs Service Learning Program has posted 16 service-oriented projects for MLK day on its website ranging from painting walls for St. Vincent de Paul, to pulling invasive plants at Mount Pisgah to fighting hunger with FOOD for Lane County. The volunteer opportunities are open to the entire community. For more details: www.serve.uoregon.edu/programs/mlk
See more events in our Calendar section this week. ã Heather Cyrus
METER HOOPS REPLACE LOST BIKE PARKING
The city of Eugene bolted hoops on posts downtown this month to help make up for bike parking that was lost after the City Council ordered parking meter heads removed to create free car parking.
The city attached about 35 metal hoops to headless meter posts downtown. The city plans to install 25 more hoops in coming weeks, according to a press release.
The black metal hoops, already used in other cities, feature a bike design from Creative Metalworks in Dayton, Ore. The bolts appear to be tamper resistant to prevent bike theft.
Cyclists expressed concern about the bike parking lost when the city removed the meter heads from a 12-block area downtown in October. The council majority argued free parking would increase business downtown, but employees rather than customers have often used the spaces for parking.
City parking and transportation staff have also said they will install new on-street, sculptured bike corrals in car parking and unused space downtown in front of businesses that approve them. Bike corrals are planned for Morning Glory Cafe (450 Willamette St.), Cornucopia (207 East 5th Ave.) and the Kiva Grocery Store (125 West 11th Ave.).
LCC instructor Lee Imonens Art 117 class is working on designs for the artistic bike corrals. The city said last month that it will display the bike parking art for public comment in the Atrium lobby in January and will continue the display in the downtown library in February. A committee including members from the citys Public Art Committee and Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee will review public comments and pick the winning designs in March. The corrals will be fabricated by an LCC class and installed in the spring, according to the city.
The city also plans to replace parking meters with area pay machines and install bike corrals on 13th Avenue near the UO. ã Alan Pittman
THE BEAR NECESSITIES
The science on bears marches on, but it looks like updates to Oregons management plan for the predators will move much more slowly. More than 12 years after its 1998 due date, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has suspended its requirement that it update its management plan for black bears every five years. The conservation group Big Wildlife sent the ODFW its final notice of intent to sue over the agencys failure to update its black bear management plan in a timely manner last week. The suit now has no grounds because the ODFW has suspended its own regulation.
Rick Hargrave, a spokesman for the ODFW, says the rule was suspended because the bear plan revision was so long overdue that it was a "moot point.” Hargrave says, "Litigation would bog down the process to begin revision.” According to Hargrave, the next black bear plan probably wont include the requirement that it update its plan according to a predetermined schedule. "The legislative session could impose a review but there likely wont be a requirement inside the bear plan,” Hargrave said.
"Its just bare, bare [bear?] minimum to require the agency to comply with its own laws; theres nothing political about that,” Big Wildlife Director Spencer Lennard says. Lennard says that not including an update deadline will cause harm to bears in the future. "I have no trust in this agency, and I dont think that most Oregonians looking at this debacle will have much more,” he says.
The ODFW has announced its intention to update its plan by the end of the year. The black bear plan outlines ODFWs strategy for population control and hunting for the species. Lennard says that the new plan should take into account the growing academic research about the importance of top predators to ecosystems as a whole, which isnt done in the current plan. "Most wildlife is managed at state level to provide hunting licenses,” Lennard says. "They can essentially do what they want to do with any species, as long as they dont tip it over to species endangerment.” ã Shannon Finnell
CLEAR WATER AND CLEAN WATER
As a result of Lane Countys recent efforts to protect Eugenes drinking water as well as the effort to prevent critical structures like hospitals from being built in floodplains, a group of homeowners in the McKenzie River drainage basin have formed the Clear Water Coalition.
Will Rutherford of Vida, who chairs the coalition, spoke before the EWEB commissioners at the Jan. 4 board meeting. He said in a statement that the goal of the coalition is to, "protect the legacy of the McKenzie River Valley while respecting individual rights.” The coalition will address citizen participation, communications, forums, stewardship and a "vital river community,” the statement said.
Many landowners along the McKenzie and other waterways that provide drinking water to Lane County communities have expressed concern over the process by which drinking water protections were being proposed. Lane Countys code has allowed homes and septic systems to be built very close to the river, which has led to concerns over the effects that future development could have on Eugenes clean water. See EWs series on the river (12/9, 12/16) for more information.
EWEB, which provides Eugene and surrounding areas with clean drinking water, is planning meetings with affected landowners in February. The utility is also working with the Institute for Natural Resources at OSU to develop an incentive plan for landowners to encourage good stewardship along the river.
EWEB General Manager Roger Gray, in an email to Rutherford thanking him for attending the board meeting, wrote that he appreciated "your stepping forward to organize the community to work on some issues critical to all of us (up and down river).” He added, "EWEB really wants to reopen a constructive and open dialog with the community and we share the goal of reestablishing and rebuilding relationships.”
The Clear Water Coalition has selected representatives in 4-mile road increments from Hayden Bridge to the uppermost residential properties on the river to form a "confluence team” to improve communication with EWEB and the county. For more information on the Clear Water Coalition, Rutherford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ã Camilla Mortensen
« Springfield Mayor Christine Lundbergs 2011 State of the City Address will be at 11 am Thursday, Jan. 13, at the Wildish Theater, 630 Main St. This is Lundbergs inaugural address after being appointed mayor.
« Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon is launching the Lane LAT (Legislative Action Team) at 6 pm Thursday, Jan. 13, with a general meeting.Interested community leaders will meet once a month to plan political strategies and organize local events. For location and other information, contact Nichi Masters, field organizer, at 510-2025 email@example.com register.
« Community members are invited to attend upcoming Restoration Celebrations in Alton Baker Park, which are listed on Nearby Natures website at www.nearbynature.org. The groups next work party will be from 1 to 4 pm Monday, Jan, 17. For more information, call 687-9699 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
« Palestine Action Week at UO began Tuesday, Jan. 11, and continues with a presentation on "Anarchists Against the Wall” at 7:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 13, in the Ben Linder Room in the EMU. The last in the series is a presentation by Portlands Boycott Israeli Apartheid project at 7 pm Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Straub 146. All events are free and put on the by the UO Survival Center, Multicultural Center and Arab Student Union.
« Lane County Commissioners Pete Sorenson and Rob Handy are teaming up with Environment Oregon and Surfrider for a discussion about the future of plastic bags in Lane County and in Oregon. From 6 to 8 pm Wednesday, Jan. 19, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave. in Eugene. The town hall panel will feature an ocean advocate, grocer, local retailer and public works official, followed by questions from community members.
EW offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 17, to observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The early deadline for reserving display advertising in our Jan. 20 issue will be 5 pm Thursday, Jan. 13. Questions? Call 484-0519.
I read in the newspaper that Catholic Community Services turned down a $71,000 grant from United Way to help the needy in Lane County. As I tried to follow the logic of this move, I had a feeling I was about three drinks behind. ã Rafael Aldave, Eugene
•« Seldom is a memorial service a clear call to make the world the better place, but the Jan. 6 gathering for Nick Klonoski was exactly that.Nick, the 29-year-old son of U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken and the late and reveredUO political science professor and Democratic leader Jim Klonoski, died in late December.A graduate of South Eugene High School and the University of Michigan, Nick loved and worked in politics and public policy, even attending the Stewart-Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity in D.C. in the fall. Outgoing Gov. Kulongoski slipped quietly into Nicksmemorialat Temple Beth Israel along with lawyersand judges, young political activists and old friends of the family. Retired Judge Greg Foote directed the service with music byDavid Helfhand, Siri Vik and Vicki Brabham. Remembrances came from brothers Zach, Jake andSam, who presented pictures. Other speakers were CydneyVandercar, Helen Yu, Jefferson Smith, Martha Pellegrino, Nick Caleb and Jon Osborne, with Judge Aiken closing the service. This quote from the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, was a part of Nick Klonoskismemorial program: "Politics isnt about observations or predictions. Politics is about what we create, about what we do, what we hope for and what we dare to imagine.” Contributions should go to the Bus Project and the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics graduate fellowship honoring James R. Klonoski.
« Congrats to the UO Ducks for a remarkable season and a valiant performance at the national championships. Congrats to the fans, both at home and in Glendale, for showing dignity and good sportsmanship. And we gotta give a shout-out to some heroic performances Monday afternoon and evening by the overwhelmed workers in pizza shops and sports bars all over the county. Hopefully they all went home that night with big tips.
« Springfield Schools Superintendent Nancy Goldens talk to the City Club of Eugene on Jan. 7 prompted the right question from the audience.How does her appointment, announced on Jan. 7 as Gov. Kitzhabers adviser on education, affect the elected role of Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction, now held by Susan Castillo of Eugene?Golden, Oregon Superintendent of the Year, carefully skirted that question. She spent much of her time affirming her confidence in our new/old governor as an intelligent advocate for education in this state. Many legislators and the governor already have spoken out for appointing rather than electingthe states top education advocate.Watch this session for the law to change.
« Whats going on behind the scenes as the 4J School Board debates which schools to close and or merge? Parents are fighting to keep their kids schools intact, and it can get heated, as we see from the Facebook page comments for the Crest Drive PTA (see http://wkly.ws/yw). One eyebrow-raising posting was taken down twice, but we saw a screen shot. A parent named Pamela wrote, "I had a phone conversation with (board member) Jim Torrey today. His guess is that right now the board is split 4-3 for closing Crest. He requested that our group organize speakers to each address one issue clearly and thoroughly at the next board meeting.” She goes on to quote a list of talking points allegedly provided by Torrey. Is it appropriate for Torrey to be coaching parents on how to testify?
« We would like to hear from Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox TV and much other media, and the Koch brothers, billionaire backers of extremist candidates and rhetoric, to find out if they have any concerns about terrorism in America.Jesse Kelly, who narrowly lost to Gabby Giffords in their 2010 congressional race in Arizona, was one of the "top 10” Tea Party candidates, much more extreme than Sarah Palin.We wonder how the big financiers feel about the political climate theyre helping create in their country.
« Should people who are homeless have pets? We heard about a heated conversation on the streets downtown recently among former county commissioner Steve Cornacchia, Carol Berg-Caldwell, a longtime advocate for the disenfranchised, and a homeless man with a puppy. Cornacchia, an attorney with Hershner Hunter, told the homeless fellow that if he cannot provide shelter for himself, he cannot provide shelter for the dog. Berg-Caldwell says she spoke up for the homeless man and told Cornacchia this is just another example of how the homeless are harassed on the streets downtown. Cornacchia tells us he has seen this dog shivering on the streets several times, and "the puppy needed an advocate so I said something. Hopefully my admonishment prompted him or Carol to find adequate shelter for the puppy.”
Is it irresponsible to own a pet and not be able to provide it with vaccinations, adequate food and shelter from the cold? Would this dog be better off if taken to the pound? Should we assume that "scruffy” people on our streets cannot provide adequate care for animals? And should we assume that well-dressed, privileged people take good care of their pets? Should we care more about homeless people or homeless dogs?
We can debate this all day, but what is clear is that every person, homeless or not, is unique in how he or she cares for animals. A dog can happily keep his master warm at night under a bridge or be neglected and miserable in a mansion kennel.
Happily, there are some local resources for homeless people and their pets. Pro-Bone-O provides vaccinations, spay/neuter vouchers and other services, more info at www.proboneo.org and word on the street is that the Egan Warming Centers will take in both the homeless and their pets on icy cold nights, eganwarmingcenter.com
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