News Briefs: Trapper Timber Saga Continues | Breaking Up Big Loads | What Will Public Hear? | Artists Perform For CLDC | Nuclear Not The Solution | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | War Dead | Lighten Up |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Happening People: Maria Paladino
Ped/bike plan offers less cost/carbon, more health
TRAPPER TIMBER SAGA CONTINUES
Seneca-Jones Timber Company, the same company that owns the controversial biomass cogeneration plant in west Eugene, is fighting to log a tract of old-growth forest in the McKenzie River watershed. Local conservation groups Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild, as well as other local activist groups, have long opposed the sale of the trees first proposed in 1998, which provide habitat for red tree voles, the food of choice for northern spotted owls listed as endangered species.
Dan Kruse, attorney for Cascadia Wildlands, and Susan Jane Brown and Pete Frost of the Western Environmental Law Center, filed a memo in support of a motion for summary judgment on Feb. 18. Kruse says the groups are asking the courts to halt Trapper because "the impacts of the sale are significantly different than previously considered, including to spotted owls and red tree voles.”
The court document cites a May 2010 letter from Pacific Northwest scientists involved with the Andrews Experimental Forest, which is located close to the sale and is part of the Blue River Landscape Study, as is the Trapper timber sale.
Trapper is in an "adaptive management area” ã federal land that is managed to "encourage the development and testing of technical and social approaches to achieving desired ecological, economic and other social objectives” and is part of a study on the way logging can make forest structures similar to those created by fire.
According to the scientists letter, logging Trapper "will not yield stand-level lessons of high value for contemporary logging practices.” The scientists, Fred Swanson, Tom Spies and Sherri Johnson, go on to say, "An important social consideration is that pushing forward with the Trapper Timber Sale may undercut efforts to undertake new discussions with the community about their future engagement with Willamette National Forest lands. We feel that a positive atmosphere for those discussions has greater value than moving forward with a highly contentious timber sale.”
"When your own scientists question the relevance of the project, its time to pull the plug,” says Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands. He says that when the Forest Service agreed to reduce the cost of Trappers timber in 2009 to $0.44 per cubic foot, it was agreeing to sell the valuable old-growth wood to Seneca for less than the typical price of firewood on Craigslist.
The Register-Guard weighed in on the sale in an October 2010 editorial "Not a typical timber sale,” arguing the sale should go through despite the presence of a spotted owl nesting area, and that"loggers, forests and owls alike” would benefit from the science. The editorial makes no mention of Senecas involvement in the sale.
The Trapper timber sale is being opposed by activists as well as through the courts. "Cascadia Forest Defenders, Rising Tide and Earth First! are all still prepared to defend this native forest,” says a CFD representative.
Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands have expressed interest in swapping the same volume of plantation forest timber for the old growth in Trapper, but Seneca has not agreed to such a deal. The Willamette National Forest is preparing a response to the memo to be filed on March 11. ã Camilla Mortensen
BREAKING UP BIG LOADS
Imperial Oil has claimed that the only way it could get its massive Statue of Liberty-sized loads of oil extraction equipment from South Korea to their final destination in the Canadian tar sands was up the Columbia River and through wild and scenic corridors. But that has turned out to be false.
The oil company has begun to break up some of the controversial loads and ship them on the very interstate highways that Imperial, anExxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary, said it could not use.
Imperial Oil spokesman Pius Rolheiser told EW in August 2010, "The modules are too large to be transported on an interstate highway.”
But now the company admits it is reconfiguring 33 of the 207 loads and sending them up I-90 and other interstates from Washingtons Port of Vancouver across the river from Portland.
Critics have attacked Imperials shipping plans, not only because of the greenhouse gas issues and toxic pollutants that are the result of oil sands extraction, but also because of fears the companys plans will turn the wild and scenic river corridor along Highway 12 in Idaho and Montana into a industrial hauling corridor, harming tourism and native salmon. Oregon-based groups have also criticized using the Columbia River, a historic fishing ground for Northwest native tribes, to facilitate dirty oil extraction that they say has poisoned First Nations peoples in Canada.
Trish Weber of All Against the Haul, one of the groups fighting Imperials plan, says the reconfiguring of the modules "directly challenges the validity” of theEnvironmental Assessment and FONSI (finding of no significant impact) that were put out by the Montana Department of Transportation, "as the EA was predicated on the assertion that there is no viable alternate route in existence.” She adds that Idahos decision to issue permits for the ExxonMobil loads was based on the same assertion.
The first of a related cluster of megaloads belonging to ConocoPhillips made their way out of the Port of Lewiston in February but have not made it to their destination. The loads have been blocked by weather, and the first load created a number of delays longer than the 15 minutes Idaho permits loads to hold up traffic. Imperial Oils first load is due to hit the road March 7. The Columbia River has been closed to barge traffic due to dam repairs, but is slated to reopen March 3. Megaloads can then begin once again to make their way up the river.
Weber says Imperial Oils flip-flopping on its ability to break up the loads, "severely damages the credibility of both state agencies in addition to the applicants ã not that ExxonMobil had much credibility to begin with.”
An Oregon protest against the heavy haul is planned for Portlands Kelly Point Park, 9 am, March 20. Contact email@example.com for more information. ã Camilla Mortensen
WHAT WILL PUBLIC HEAR?
Has a "green” university ever been so determined to develop riverfront land? The UO is trying to move forward with the first substantial Willamette riverfront construction project in 20 years just east of EWEBs property on the south side of the river.
Continuing a lengthy appeals process, the citizen group Connecting Eugene filed a notice of intent to appeal the citys decision allowing excavation to go forward for a new parking lot that is part of planned development for the Oregon Research Institute at the UOs Riverfront Research Park.
The conservation group says that the decision to allow the parking lot was a discretionary land use decision. "As such,” Connecting Eugene member Paul Cziko says, "the city is required to hold a hearing to assess whether its allowed under the conditional use permit.” The lot and the building would be right on the river, but Connecting Eugene says the Research Parks master plan specifically calls for development to occur south of the railroad tracks before construction occurs on the riverfront.
"What were seeking is an official public hearing over whether this complies with the master plan,” Cziko says. Opponents of the project also hope that a public hearing would force UO President Richard Lariviere to answer "questions of substance,” which they say have not been addressed. Lariviere did not respond to a request for comment by the time EW went to press.
Supporters of the plan say that the riverfront site isnt natural or pristine and should be developed, but Connecting Eugene and others say that the riverside land should be improved with natural enhancements, not by constructing an office building.
Cziko, a science graduate student, says he has no opposition to the construction of the private office buildings for research, but an alternate site should be selected with open public oversight. "Connecting Eugene is not against development,” Cziko says, "we think that the public needs to have meaningful input on this.” Information about Connecting Eugenes proposal for alternative sites can be found at www.connectingeugene.org ã Shannon Finnell and Camilla Mortensen
ARTISTS PERFORM FOR CLDC
Placed on the same stage, the Etheric Double Soundsystem Live, holy!holy!holy! and The Alder Street Allstars make quite a troupe of politically conscious performers. This unique grouping of musicians is coming together for the annual "Solidarity with Earth Defenders” concert March 5 hosted by Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), the Eugene-based nonprofit focused on "defending and upholding civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, legal support and assistance.” The event is timed to take place during the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference on campus.
The Etheric Double Soundsystem Live will feature members of several high-profile bands touring both nationally and internationally. Joining this all-star grouping from Boulders premier dubtronica outfit, Heavyweight Dub Champion, are renowned underground emcee Apostle and sound engineer Patch. Also appearing will be instrumentalist Rena Jones ã hailed for her talent with violin and cello ã as well as sound engineer and soloist Etheric Double, the mastermind who brought this collection of artists together. Patch and Etheric Double will create and fuse their signature electronic sound tapestries as they provide a base for Apostle, whose stage presence derives from the tradition of old-school hip-hop. Rena Jones BRING's an eerie and elegant tone to the thumping, bass-heavy beats and spitfire vocals. This is the first time these artists have played together as one unit.
The "Solidarity with Earth Defenders” fundraiser concert, which also features a talk by activist/organizer Tre Arrow and poetry by Slugthang, starts at 7:30 pm Saturday, March 5, at WOW Hall. $10 adv., $15 door. ã Dante Zu¿iga-West
NUCLEAR NOT THE SOLUTION
There are plenty of reasons to avoid going nuclear, according to the activist group Nuke Info. The concern for global climate change has put nuclear power in the forefront of conversation as a clean energy source and local groups are concerned about the possibility of trucking nuclear waste through Lane County, as well as contamination of the Columbia River from the Hanford nuclear site.
"There are many problems with nuclear energy; the waste doesnt have a place to go, affecting our health and contaminating our water,” says Nuke Info spokesperson Louisa Hamachek.
Nuke Info is hosting "Uncle Sams Trucking: Nuclear Information Night,” from 6:30 to 9:30 pm Monday, March 7, at Harris Hall, 125 E 8th Ave. "Although the issues surrounding nuclear waste are terrible, we are rising to action with our new campaign, •The Seven Percent Challenge,” Hamachek says.
According to Nuke Info, seven percent of EWEBs energy comes from the Hanford nuclear power plant in southeastern Washington. In response, Nuke Info is challenging the community to meet seven percent of its energy needs via solar power in the next 10 years. "The sun is given to us free and clean. Every house in our community has the potential to be a mini power plant,” says Hamachek.
Nuke Info night will also include "peak uranium,” depleted uranium weapons, issues of irradiated food and concerns that Washingtons Hanford nuclear site is slated to be the next Yucca Mountain.
Hamachek says, "We need to put pressure on Congress now,” who says she worries about the already existing pollution problems Hanford is facing.
The free event will feature speakers Gerry Pollet, of Heart of America-Northwest, a Hanford nuclear site watchdog group, and Michael Carrigan of CALC, as well as science presentations, music and entertainment. ã Heather Cyrus
« The NW and SW Oregon Regional Forest Practices Advisory Committees (RFPAC) will hold a joint meeting this week from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm Thursday, March 3, the ODF district office, 3150 Main Street in Springfield. Public comment is scheduled near the start. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
« A public forum about a proposed state bank for Oregon will be from 5:30 to 8 pm Thursday, March 3, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave. See OregoniansForaStateBank.org or call Stefan at 912-7187.
« The Eugene Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans Project Advisory Committee is planning a open house from 4 to 7 pm Thursday, March 3, at St. Marys Catholic Church, 11th and Olive. The master plan sets goals and priorities for Eugenes pedestrian and bicycle system. See www.eugenepedbikeplan.org
« LCC will host a public meeting with neighbors of the new LCC downtown campus site at 6 pm Thursday, March 3, at the Eugene Public Library. Representatives from Lease Crutcher Lewis, the firm hired by the college to provide construction management and general construction services for the project, will discuss possible impacts to direct neighbors of the site as construction begins.
« An OSPIRG food safety panel on "The Power of the Food Industry” will be at 7 pm Thursday, March 3, at 301 Gerlinger Hall, UO. Speakers include Jenn Lavelle, Jessica Wilson and a farmer.
« Former Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb will speak on "Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule” at 7 pm Thursday, March 3, at the Corvallis Public Library. Open to the public,admission on a sliding scale.
« An International Womens Day forum sponsored by Zonta Foundation of Eugene will be from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Tuesday, March 8, at the Eugene Hilton. Topic is human trafficking, a $9 billion worldwide business, and its affect locally.
« Eugene City Council work sessions on Envision Eugene and EmX alternatives will be at noon Wednesday, March 9, in the McNutt Room at City Hall. The sessions are open to the public but not open to public testimony. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com and the draft Envision Eugene document can be found at http://wkly.ws/11b and a survey can be found at http://wkly.ws/11c
« An interfaith labor breakfast hosted by Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network/ Jobs with Justice is planned for 7:15 to 9 am Wednesday, March 9, at St. Marys Catholic Church, 1062 Charnelton St. in Eugene. RSVP at 736-9041 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
« Jewish author Richard Forer, a former AIPAC member with ultra-Orthodox relatives in Israel, will speak at 7 pm Thursday, March 10, at the UO Chiles Hall, Room 128, on the topic of his new book, Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion ã A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.
« A roundtable discussion on Immigrant Rights featuring Rogers Smith,Hiroshi Motomura and Dan Tichenor, is planned for 5:30 pm Thursday, March 10, at 175 Knight Law Center at UO.
« Project Homeless Connect is preparing for its fifth annual event March 17 at the Fairgrounds. Organizers are collecting coats, hats, gloves, scarves, socks, sleeping bags and backpacks, along with personal hygiene products. Donations may be dropped off at any St. Vincent de Paul store. Checks can also be sent to United Way of Lane County, 3171 Gateway Loop, Springfield 97477.
Lane Area Spray Schedule
« Massive aerial spray of western Lane County: Weyerhaeuser (744-4600, 912-0203) will aerial spray 1,237 acres using 15 different herbicides including Garlon 4 in Low Pass, Horton, Triangle Lake, Greenleaf and Lorane next to Fish, Swamp, Kelly (Coho salmon streams) and Martin creeks; Long Tom River, Crow, Hayes and Poodle Creek starting March 14 (ODF Notice No. 2011-781-00151).
« Green River area: Roseburg Resource Company (935-2507) will aerial spray 209 acres with 11 herbicides including Garlon 4 near Green River (Coho salmon; Township 15 South, Range 10 West, Section 25 &26) starting March 15 (No. 2011-781-00141).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
« 1,475 U.S. troops killed* (1,468)
« 10,407 U.S. troops wounded in action (10,351)
« 709 U.S. contractors killed (709)
« $382.0 billion cost of war ($380.0 billion)
« $108.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($108.1 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)
« 109,143 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (108,865)
« $776.7 billion cost of war ($775.5 billion)
« $220.9 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($220.5 million)
Through Feb. 28, 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)
When you look at the demonstrators in Egypt, you see democracy at work. When you look at the governor of Wisconsin, you see democracy standing on its head. ã Rafael Aldave, Eugene
« Finally, some activity at the old Sears pit this week. A little after 11 am Friday the first dirt will get tossed ceremoniously into the gaping hole thats been a blight on downtown for way too long. Speechifying is planned at 10:30 am at the library across the street. We hear LCC President Mary Spilde has been pushing for something to happen more quickly on the site of LCCs future 177,000 sq. ft. Downtown Center. Earlier proposals for the pit had called for underground parking, but engineers and architects figured it would be cheaper to fill the hole and build from ground level. The construction will be a pleasure to watch, but it will cause inconveniences. LCC is planning to meet with its new neighbors this week to address their concerns (see Activist Alert). This project, along with others nearby, will give downtown a welcome boost.
« If you line up three Lane County residents today,one of them will be eligible statistically for emergency food assistance. Thats just one of the stark numbers offered Feb. 25 by Beverlee Hughes, Josie McCarthy and their impressive FOOD for Lane County team at City Club last week. FLC distributes 14,000 meals a day and operates27 pantries where folks in need can pick up food. In the summer they serve 3,000 meals a day,five days a week, for hungry kids. A new Brown Bag Program, federally funded, assists about 55 seniors a day in the county. This is all done with a budget of $3 million a year, $2 million raised privately, and $1 million from United Way, federal, state and county funds, all in jeopardy this year and beyond. One farm and two great gardens supply some of the fresh produce. Volunteers give 66,000 hours a year. Food that is prepared but not served is "rescued” from local hospitals, the UO, and other sites, and put to good use. But all we really need to know is that one in three Lane County residents is eligible right now for emergency food assistance.
« We heard a rumor that the new parking lot south of the tracks in the Riverfront Research Park was exclusively for student-athletes, but the UO tells us the new parking is not actually part of the RRP, even though its on the north side of Franklin. The lot relocates parking for student-athletes when they are studying at the Jaqua Center, freeing up parking near Jaqua for general use and the new arena. The UO Athletic Department is paying to lease the land and maintain it. And the UO Urban Farm next to the lot is planting edible landscaping at the site. Hmmm. Eugenes first Park & Graze?
« No big surprise that uptight conservatives, many new to the Oregon Legislature, are not focusing on our states big economic and environmental issues, but are rather attacking ailing and disabled Oregonians who are seeking some relief from their suffering through medical marijuana. The first attack to get a public hearing last week was House Bill 2982. This bill would, along with dozens of other petty restrictions (such as annual paperwork for doctors), require background checks on all 80,000 medical pot cardholders, and kick out any patients with drug-related felony convictions from anywhere, anytime. The background checks will cost an estimated $7.5 million, take nearly a year to implement, and add a new layer of permanent and costly bureaucracy.
Wilsonville Republican Rep. Matt Wingard is to blame for this idiocy. Other bills are in the works, all intended to eviscerate our already weak Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. A new coalition has formed to combat these bills, called the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative. Email email@example.com call 228-1634.
« We heard from reader Monika Barry that her dog browsed in her compost pit and required a trip to the pet hospital. It seems fungi in rotting compost can create deadly toxins. Other doggie dangers lurking? Local vet Ingrid Kessler tells us she treated a pooch that had become downright catatonic after scarfing down a baggy of marijuana. Well, a pot-induced stupor can happen to anyone, but boo can be deadly for our sensitive four-footed friends. Lock it up.
« Can democracy take root in the Arab world? Many pundits are pessimistic, citing the lack of democratic institutions and traditions that we enjoy in the West. But communication and technology can change everything, providing the means to organize and also to examine and debate options for reform. Compared to autocracy in the Arab world, American-style democracy is hugely appealing. But lets not be too smug. Despite our institutions and traditions, we still have far to go in eliminating injustice, ignorance, inequality, poverty, violence and corruption at home. The struggle for freedom from intimidation and oppression extends way beyond the Arab world. Its happening in Wisconsin and right here in Lane County.
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
"Ive always been involved in activism,” says Maria Paladino, a labor activist from age 16 who has also volunteered in support of immigration reform, economic justice, womens issues, queer issues, and pit bull rescue. "Somebody needs to speak for the underdog,” she says. A native of Brooklyn, she moved to Salem in time for middle school, went back East after high school, got married and had two kids. She returned to Oregon after a divorce. "It took me eight years to go to school,” says Paladino, who completed a sociology degree at LCC and the UO between jobs and mom duties. Two years later, in 2000, she began full-time work as a legal advocate at Sexual Assault Support Services, a nonprofit that offers education, support, and advocacy to survivors of sexual violence. "I still do front-line work. Its been a calling,” says Paladino, who was executive director of SASS from 2007 until last month, when she resigned to become development director for the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. "The coalition provides training and tech support to member groups across the state.” Learn about SASS programs and volunteer opportunities at http://sass-lane.org The SASS 24-hour crisis line is 343-SASS.