News Briefs: Wild and Scenic Films | Big Oil Loses in Ecuador | Library Cuts Hundreds of Magazines | Deep Green The Movie | Call for Lawsuit Appeal | Barnhart Sees Painful Cuts Ahead | Bike Panel Backs EmX | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane County Spray Schedule | Lighten Up |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua
Local School Funding
Council puts measure to vote, but hits poor with tax
WILD AND SCENIC FILMS
|A scene from Witness by Neil Ever and Chad A. Stevens screening at the Wild and Senic Film Festival|
On Tuesday, Feb. 22, conservation group Cascadia Wildlands will host Patagonia's fourth annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival at the UO campus. The festival hopes to yield donations to support the preservation of species at risk in the Cascade region, and in doing so it will continue to fulfill the group's mission to "educate, agitate, and inspire a movement to protect and restore Cascadia's wild ecosystems."
Co-sponsored by the UO Outdoor Program, Ninkasi, Tactics and Backcountry Gear, Cascadia Wildlands hopes to draw a large crowd of folks hungry to view the nine films that adorn the evening's bill. Wild and Scenic intends to be a smorgasbord of projects, from displaying films that provide commentary on the state of global outdoors, to showing human-nature interactions with didactic stories and stunning footage. Among said stories is Skier's Journey: Kashmir, which documents a pair of skiers and their experience in search of a spot to ski in the Himalayas.
Another attraction is The Greatest Migration, a 20-minute piece made by local filmmaker and outdoor adventurer Trip Jennings, which documents the daunting migratory habits of Snake River salmon as they struggle to survive an onslaught of dams and hazards along the path to their spawning grounds, some 7,000 feet above sea level. The film aids Oregonians " residents who need to be especially conscious of salmon " in thinking closely about human impact on local river systems.
"We want to pack the house, connect with the community and provide them with an affordable night of cutting edge-film that isn't Hollywood," said Cascadia Wildlands Campaign Director Josh Laughlin. "It's not a large fundraiser for us, rather a community"builder where we can show off some powerful film and introduce community members to the conservation work of Cascadia Wildlands."
"It's a compelling mix of thrilling backcountry adventure and powerful campaigns working to safeguard the Earth," said Laughlin.
The films will be shown from 7 to 10 pm in 180 PLC at the UO campus. Tickets are $7 for the general public. More information on the festival at www.cascwild.org
BIG OIL LOSES IN ECUADOR
While the BP oil spill is the most famous recent fossil fuel disaster, the contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon by oil extraction has caused massive environmental contamination in the once pristine jungle and health problems for nearby Ecuadorians (see EW cover story, 8/13/2009).
A judge ruled Feb. 14 in a long running lawsuit filed by Ecuadorian native peoples and villagers that Chevron must pay $8.6 billion in damages and cleanup costs. A court-appointed expert had recommended $27.3 billion, and the case is expected to be appealed by both sides.
Pablo Fajardo, the lead attorney in the case, which took place in an Ecuadorian court, is a partner of Eugene-based Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW). Fajardo issued a statement saying he believes the "judgment affirms what the plaintiffs have contended for the past 18 years about Chevron's intentional and unlawful contamination of Ecuador's rainforest."
He says, "The plaintiffs provided the court with a great quantum of scientific and documentary evidence that Chevron deliberately and in violation of all industry norms discharged billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest and into the water supply relied on by thousands of Ecuadorian citizens."
Fajardo, a native Ecuadorian, put himself through law school via a six-year correspondence course and became the lead attorney on the case soon after getting his degree. He has been facing Chevron's well-funded team of attorneys as well as tactics by the oil company such as sending corporate spies to Ecuador to attempt to discredit the attorneys and Ecuadorian officials.
Fajardo came to Eugene through ELAW to study English, and was a keynote speaker at the UO's Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in 2009. The public interest group, among other things, "provided moral support for a long difficult fight for justice," ELAW Executive Director Bern Johnson says.
Johnson says many ELAW partners like Fajardo work alone on difficult cases. When the partners were notified of the victory through the ELAW network, Fajardo not only received congratulations from around the world, but his success is also "a source of inspiration for others."
" Camilla Mortensen
LIBRARY CUTS HUNDREDS OF MAGAZINES
The conservative National Review made the cut, but the city canceled The Village Voice. The Eugene Public Library has cut almost half of its magazine and newspaper subscriptions to save money.
The downtown library will lose about 46 percent of its subscriptions, while the Bethel and Sheldon branch libraries will lose about 20 percent. In all the city will cancel about 248 subscriptions.
The cancellations will directly save about $22,500 a year, plus an undisclosed larger amount in staff-time savings spent processing the materials. Library users may be able to find some of the lost content on the internet or in library databases.
The library may be able to restore some lost subscriptions through increased donations. "However, the Library does not accept donations limited to a specific title, because the choices involved in shaping and updating the collection are made and managed in a big-picture context," Library Director Connie Bennett said in an email.
Here's a comparison of some of the titles library officials chose to continue versus cancel at the downtown branch. Adventure Cyclist out; Car and Driver in. Ms. magazine out; Bitch in. GQ out; Esquire in. Canoe & Kayak out; Video Librarian in. Guns & Ammo out; Knitters in. The Onion out; MAD in. Bon Appetit out; Cooking Light in. Good Housekeeping out; Hip Mama in. Sierra out; Teen Vogue in. Science News out; The Skeptical Inquirer in. The Journal of Light Construction is out; ReadyMade is in. The complete list of cuts and keeps is at http://scr.bi/gt4x9U
The branch libraries will also only get the state's largest newspaper, The Oregonian, on Sundays.
The Eugene City Council cut the library's $11 million budget about 4.6 percent for this year, or $506,000. At the same time, the council voted to spend $740,000 on hiring seven more police officers; $220,000 on removing parking meters in part of downtown, and millions of dollars on providing tax exemptions for apartment developers near the UO.
In implementing the city's library cuts, the library prioritized keeping all three branches open for the same schedule of hours. " Alan Pittman
DEEP GREEN THE MOVIE
Get inspired to live lighter and reduce your carbon footprint with easy solutions you can do at home. Deep Green, a documentary film created by UO alumnus Matt Briggs to address the growing problem of man-made climate change, will be shown at 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Hult Center.
The film gives examples of how groups in Oregon, as well as international groups, are already using advanced energy saving techniques, and how the public could be using the same practices to conserve energy and reduce its carbon footprint. It gives the public realistic and reasonable solutions to help reduce energy waste from electronics and other products such as light bulbs that are in alignment with many of Eugene's climate and energy goals.
"We tried to make this a broad introduction for everybody, I think kids 12 and up; men and women; people who are both technically and scientifically together, and people who don't have that bone in their body can all kind of get it," Briggs says.
Briggs says that "people who have money can do it on their own, and for those people who have no money at all, there are programs" to help finance energy efficient modifications to their homes.
The filmmaker hopes that this film will act as a conversation starter for people to get interested in the energy-efficiency of their city.
In the lobby outside of the Soreng Theater will be numerous discussion tables available after the film for people to get in on the conversation about Eugene's goals as a city. People can choose to join an ongoing forum on issues such as transportation, green building and energy efficiency.
Deep Green is presented by Eugene's Green Building, Waste Prevention and Sustainability Programs and it will be followed at 7:30 pm by a discussion with Briggs.
Admission is a suggested $5 donation at the door, but no one will be turned away. The film and its maker will also be at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference the first week of March at the UO Law School (see www.pielc.org).
" Chelsea Fryhoff
CALL FOR LAWSUIT APPEAL
Signing statements are beginning to circulate around Lane County calling on county government to mount a legal challenge to the lawsuit ruling targeting county commissioners. The statements read:
"We, the undersigned citizens of Lane County, Oregon, respectfully request that the Government of Lane County immediately agrees to pay all costs involved in a full appeal of Judge Gillespie's 2011 decision against Commissioners Sorenson, Handy, and other Lane County officials."
Alternatively, there is a statement that replaces "respectfully request" with "respectfully demand."
"A signing statement is different, and in some ways more powerful than a petition, in that signers do not have to be registered voters or of 'legal' age," says Scott Landfield of Tsunami Books who is helping distribute the statements at his store on Willamette near 25th Avenue.
Landfield says members of the South Eugene High School Democrats have already asked for and received this statement. "Three years ago a signing statement led to an eventual vote that defeated the $40 million to $80 million urban renewal giveaway of downtown Eugene," he says. " Ted Taylor
BARNHART SEES PAINFUL CUTS AHEAD
Rep. Phil Barnhart of Eugene is now hanging his hat in Salem and will be there for the next five months, but says he plans to hold town hall meetings at home, "mostly on Saturdays."
Barnhart, a Democrat, has been assigned to three committees in the new "bipartisan" Legislature where neither party has a majority. When the Democrats were in the leadership position he was chair of the key House Revenue Committee, but he now co-chairs the panel with Rep. Vicki Berger. He is also serving on the House Rules and Tax Credits committees.
"The state currently has a $3.5 billion deficit, which equals approximately one-quarter of the overall budget," he says in his first legislative report. Last summer at a Bus Project public meeting he predicted the state would see a $2.5 billion deficit in the 2011-13 biennium, "but the number could easily be higher."
"The Legislature must take the next steps to cope with the deficit and continue essential programs in the state," he says this week. "We will pass the budget that will change the way we do business and will reduce basic programs our citizens need. I expect to vote for budget bills I greatly dislike because the alternatives are worse."
The lawmaker says he is focusing on economic development and job growth. "I am working on a plan to enable us to move the management of existing state funds to invest in new ventures and help promote the growth of local business and agriculture," he says.
Barnhart can be reached at (800) 332-2313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
" Ted Taylor
BIKE PANEL BACKS EMX
The city of Eugene's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee issued a statement Feb. 10 in support of the West Eugene EmX Extension (WEEE).
"The WEEE is very important to the LTD's bus rapid transit system and to creating a better city for walking and biking," reads the statement. "Transit is essential for a walkable community and to the reduction of vehicle miles driven. There are real benefits for all of Eugene."
The statement goes on to talk about how LTD has "worked hard to mitigate most of the impacts to business and residential access," says EmX will become "self-supporting over time."
"We oppose the No Build Option and do not think it takes into account the long-term needs of our community," reads the statement.
The document is signed by Tom Schneider, Shane McRhodes, Holly McRae, Ted Sweeney, Harriet Behm, Jennifer Smith, Rex Redmon, David Gizara, Rex Fox and Sue Harshbarger.
* The League of Women Voters of Lane County is planning a special free program on domestic violence deaths at 12:15 pm Thursday, Feb. 17, at Mallard Hall, 725 West 1st Ave. in Eugene. The Stop Violence Against Women Clinic Project will be discussed and speakers will include Merle Weiner and Pat Vallerand. A buffet lunch will be available for $12. For reservations, call the League office at 343-7917, or e-mail email@example.com for reservations.
* UO's OSPIRG chapter is hosting a panel on 21st century transportation from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Feb. 17, at the John E. Jaqua Center, Room 101, at East 13th and Agate. The discussion involves the benefits of high-speed rail. Speakers include Mayor Kitty Piercy, planning professor Robert Young and OSPIRG's Frank L. Yen.
* The annual Economic Forecast sponsored by the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce is from 2:30 to 5 pm Thursday, Feb. 17, at the Hilton. Keynote speaker is Duncan Wyse of the Oregon Business Council. More information at www.eugenechamber.com
* Cold weather is upon us again and the Egan Warming Centers are on standby for Thursday and Friday nights this week, Feb. 17-18. Check www.eganwarmingcenter.com for details. Donations of warm clothing, sleeping bags, etc. can be made at any St. Vincent de Paul store. Meanwhile Project Homeless Connect is preparing for its fifth annual event March 17 at the Fairgrounds.
* New Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich will be hosting three "community conversations" Thursday, Feb. 17. The first is from 9 to 10:30 am at Frank's Place in Mapleton. Next is from noon to 1 pm at the Florence Chamber forum at Driftwood Shores. The last is from 4 to 5:30 pm at the Bridgeport Market on Harbor Street in Florence.
* Vandana Shiva will be one of the featured speakers at the Food Justice Conference Feb. 19-21 at UO, sponsored by the Wayne Morse Center for Politics & Law. See www.localfoodconnection.org and http://wkly.ws/115
* An OSU Food for Thought lecture will be on "Food's Footprint: Agriculture and Climate Change" by Jennifer Burney of Stanford University, at 7 pm Wednesday, Feb. 23, in the LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis.
* The Coburg Transportation System Plan is hosting an update and a first open house from 4 to 6 pm Wednesday, Feb. 23, at Coburg Fire District Building, 91232 N. Coburg Rd. See www.coburgtsp.org for information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 682-7858.
* Activist, attorney and author Randy Shaw will speak about "Winning Real Change in Tough Times" Thursday, Feb. 24. He will speak first at 1 pm in Building 17, Room 309 at LCC, and again at 7 pm the UO Law School, Room 175. Donations are welcome. For more info, call Progressive Voices at (541) 484-9167.
* 1,468 U.S. troops killed* (1,464)
* 10,308 U.S. troops wounded in action (10,264)
* 709 U.S. contractors killed (709)
* $377.9 billion cost of war ($375.9 billion)
* $107.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($106.9 million)
* 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)
* 31,938 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,938)
* 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
* 1,521 U.S. contractors killed (1,521)
* 108,864 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (108,782)
* $774.2 billion cost of war ($773.0 billion)
* $220.2 million cost to Eugene
taxpayers ($219.8 million)
Through Feb. 14,, 2011; sources: icasualties.org; defense.gov, U.S. Dept. of Labor
* highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate Iraqi civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
LANE COUNTY SPRAY SCHEDULE
* Railroad spray through Eugene: Union Pacific Railroad notified the city of Eugene that it will begin railroad track spraying between Feb. 21 and March 7, weather and train movement permitting. The spray pattern will be 24 feet wide, 12 feet on each side from the center of the tracks. The following herbicides will be used: Payload (a fluoride herbicide, EPA # 59639-120), SFM 75 (sulfometuron methyl, EPA# 72167-11-74477) and if necessary, Glyphosate to address emerged weeds. Contact: Jan Bohman, city community relations manager, 682-5587.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
Any Catholic who needs the new iPhone app named "Confession" to keep track of his or her sins might want to make contingency plans for the afterlife.
" Rafael Aldave, Eugene
* The Eugene City Council deserves praise for referring a May vote on a temporary income tax to save school kids from brutal budget cuts. However, if the council hasn't already acted by the time we go to press Wednesday noon, they should move as quickly as possible to tweak parts of their first proposal to make it more fair, workable, and passable. Taxing Eugeneans below the poverty line, even on a temporary basis, is an unwise proposal if you honestly want the voters to support keeping teachers' jobs and staunching the bleeding of school days. These looming budget cuts have serious socio-economic and educational consequences. The city manager, city attorney, city staff, mayor and council members should step up with a smarter proposal to send off to their voters. Already, the national press (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15) has pointed out Eugene as one of the "local governments across the U.S. looking to offset deep cuts in the funding that flows to them from states by raising taxes and easing state mandates on how they spend." Isn't this called a tiny step toward more local control? Both ends of the political spectrum should want it for their kids.
* Planning wonks around the valley are engaged in a plethora of planning. Right now we are wrestling with Eugene's TransPlan, Springfield and Coburg transportation plans, the Bike Plan, West Eugene EmX Extension, Envision Eugene, and others. Most of these plans are complicated (for better or worse) by overlapping jurisdictions and state mandates.
What is The Big Picture here? How do we educate ourselves in order to give meaningful public input into this basic function of local government? We hear a couple of local folks have asked Mayor Piercy to hold a town hall on the overriding issues involving local planning. Might be a good idea. The challenge, of course, is to attract more than the usual suspects. OSPIRG has invited Piercy to talk about high speed rail this week (see Activist Alert) and that should inspire some new people to get involved in transportation issues.
Local eco-designer Rob Bolman is giving a timely talk as we go to press this week on "Embracing the Inevitable: Humankind's Reluctant Yet Certain Transition to Sustainability." His title says it all: If we don't commit to serious changes now in our living and our planning, Mother Nature will make those changes for us, and it won't be pretty. Meanwhile, short-term thinkers among us are hanging onto the status quo, or demanding that we compromise and dilute any substantive changes.
*Not our jocks! "Ninety-nine percent of people gave up the farce of the student-athlete long, long ago," says Scott Kennedy, the director of scouting at Scout.com, a sports recruiting website. "It's a business," he says, quoted in The Wall Street Journal Feb. 9. Oregon,obviously,is in the other 1 percent.
* Congrats to Eugene guitar virtuoso Don Latarski who was recently named "One of the 100+ Gifted Guitarists You Should Know" by TrueFire, a teaching institute that Guitar Player magazine called "the planet's largest and most comprehensive selection of guitar lessons." Latarski, an internationally renowned finger-style guitarist, is head of guitar studies at the UO's School of Music and has played with the likes of Mason Williams, Mark Alan and Dan Siegel. Praised for his facility with a broad spectrum of genres from jazz and funk to swing and what he calls "urban voodoo," Latarski is a fluid, tasteful soloist with a masterful sense of harmony. If you watched the Grammys on Sunday, then you know that Oregon has another award winner: Portland native Esperanza Spalding beat out Justin Bieber for Best New Artist. See our story this week on Bieber on page 14.
* We need to raise the price of water. That was one of the messages Michael Campana, professor of hydrology and water resources at OSU, brought to the Eugene City Club Feb. 11. In Oregon, he said, we shouldn't link land use with water quality and quantity. Instead, we should go to conservation and re-use.Although we've heard these before, his list of Oregon water issues related to climate change gave us the most pause: drought on the east side; loss of smaller snow pack earlier in the spring, resulting in more floods, landslides; less surface water to dilute waste; and an influx of climate refugees coming here because of more severe problems elsewhere.Go to klcc.org to hear the broadcast
* Does the R-G have a new policy on its opinion pages of outing liberals? When the wife of the leader of the Eugene police union wrote a letter in support of the cops, she was listed on the letters page only by her name and city. When Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy's volunteer assistant Phyllis Barkhurst wrote a recent letter in support of the commissioners and critiquing the R-G for its biased coverage, she was listed as "Former consultant to Commissioner Rob Handy."
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
SAM RODERICK ROXAS-CHUA
A Filipino born in Manila, Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua was adopted by a Chinese family that moved to Los Angeles when he was 11. "I went to Catholic school until fifth grade," he says. "but my grandma taught me Buddhist prayers." In his late teens, he felt a calling to be a priest, but a pastor told him that his homosexuality meant that he could never enter heaven. After moving to Seattle to finish college, he discovered the Dalai Lama on TV at 3 am: "He was saying, 'You're OK, no matter who you are, or how bad you are.' I've practiced Tibetan Buddhism since 1999." Roxas-Chua met his partner, John Simpson, in Seattle, and in 2002 joined him in Eugene. When his mother died in 2005, he joined a bereavement support group at Sacred Heart. "It normalized the confusion, the loss," says Roxas-Chua, who trained as a volunteer to facilitate support groups and to give hospice patient care. Since 2008, he has made audio and video recordings of hospice patients telling their life stories. "Being aware of impermanence teaches you how to live," says Roxas-Chua, who has opened a ceramics studio since taking his first class at Clayspace in 2009. See his Wish People and other works in clay at wonderlandcraftstudio.com