News Briefs: ORI Parking Issue Lingers | Big Cat Kill Bill Killed | VA Sprawl a Violation? | Save Trapper? Trapper Saved! | WOW Trees to Stay Standing | Ride Naked | Folklife Network Earns Grant | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | War Dead |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
ORI PARKING ISSUE LINGERS
The battle over the Oregon Research Institute (ORI) building plans for Riverfront Research Park is still more of a fight over parking than over a building, but the possibility exists that a new site at 1700 Millrace Drive will satisfy all sides on the issue of the new buildings location.
|Some of the spaces in the newly constructed parking lot on Riverfront Parkway could be used for 1700 Millrace, according to Connecting Eugene. Photo by Allen Hancock.|
The proposed new research park building and parking lot has been slated to be built right on the Willamette River, an arrangement that stems from a 20-year-old master plan for development that opponents Connecting Eugene call outdated.
ORI is a behavioral research center doing research on public health and human wellbeing, and it has argued the planned building is sustainable development and incorporates green building techniques such as bioswales and recycled materials.
Connecting Eugene calls for more ecological as well as people-oriented uses of the riverfront than an office building and parking lot. In early May, UO President Richard Lariviere issued a statement saying the UO is considering an alternative location at1700 Millrace Drive and ordered a feasibility study be conducted.
Kathryn Madden, ORIs media contact says, "We were pleased and surprised when the 1700 Millrace parcel became available as a possible location for the ORI/EPIC building. We look forward to a positive outcome as the UO and Trammel Crow explore the feasibility of the site.”
According to Allen Hancock of Connecting Eugene, parking may still be one of the UOs hang-ups. The new building must meet Eugene city code for number of parking spaces for an office building. The current ORI plan for the riverfront location calls for 200 parking spots. "Thats the reason for the insistence on the number of parking spaces on the originally proposed riverfront development,” says Hancock.
But he says, "We have spent time on the ground and looking at maps looking for a solution for what has been called the •parking problem” for the new location. Last week Connecting Eugene sent the UO, ORI and developer Trammel Crow a letter offering 10 ways to address the parking issues at 1700 Millrace Drive.Hancock says, "Theres really no reason not to build at this alternate location, and we hope this letter will drive that point home.”
He also says that ORI could approach the Eugene City Council for a variance on the parking compliance and that the Millrace location is "from a transit perspective, a great location” as its very close to the EmX bus rapid transit. The controversial riverfront location, he says, would require walking two-thirds of a mile and crossing railroad tracks and multiple lanes of traffic to catch a bus.
The riverfront site also faces a legal challenge. Connecting Eugene filed a brief with the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) seeking a public hearing for a determination of whether the proposed ORI building complies with the terms and conditions of the research parks conditional use permit that was approved through a public process in 1989.
Hancock says Connecting Eugene is also excited about the possibility of 1700 Millrace Drive as a new location for ORI and Larivieres feasibility study "is good news, but until they withdraw their building permit for the riverfront site were pursuing our legal challenge.” He says the UOs own brief is due June 8. ã Camilla Mortensen
BIG CAT KILL BILL KILLED
"Looks like the cougar bill is dead,” says Sally Mackler of Eugene-based Predator Defense of HB 2337, a bill in the Oregon Legislature that tried to once again bring back the hunting of cougars with hounds.
"The purpose was purportedly to decrease conflict,” Mackler says. According to the National Rifle Associations Institute for Legislative Action, "HB 2337would allow for the creation of pilot programs in which permitted persons could hunt or pursue cougars using one or more dogs.” The NRA adds,"The pilot programs would be launched in select areas with documented cougar threats to human, livestock or pet safety.”
Mackler says, "You cant sport hunt in residential communities, and its already permitted to pursue damage-causing bears or cougars.” She says the bill was "bogus, it was for trophy hunting.” She says it was "just a way to bring sport hounding back into Oregon, but voters did not want to see that.”
Oregon voters approved the cougar-hunting ban in 1994 and despite repeated attempts to overturn the ban it has remained standing.
Still in play in the Legislature, but just barely, according to Mackler, is one of several wolf bills that were introduced this session, HB 3560, which would create a compensation program for ranchers suffering losses to wolves. The bill is in the Ways and Means Committee. Another wolf bill, HB 3562, would have allowed for the killing of a wolf if it attacks a human, but opponents said that is already allowed under the Oregons wolf management plan and that bill died in committee. ã Camilla Mortensen
VA SPRAWL A VIOLATION?
The Veterans Administration may be violating federal law in giving apparent preference for a new clinic site that promotes urban sprawl rather than downtown redevelopment.
The VA this month issued a request for proposals requiring a sprawling 13-acre site with 685 parking spaces for its planned new 200-employee clinic. Those criteria appear to favor greenfield sites on the edge of town and rule out the old medical clinic site at 13th and Willamette in downtown Eugene that city officials had hoped the VA would choose.
But federal Executive Order 12072 requires that "the process for meeting federal space needs in urban areas shall give first consideration to a centralized community business area.” The order says "federal facilities and federal use of space in urban areas shall serve to strengthen the nations cities and to make them attractive places to live and work.” The order requires "serious consideration” of social and environmental impacts of siting decisions.
Numerous federal studies have documented the impact of urban sprawl on exhaust pollution, natural areas, livability and expensive traffic congestion. Ironically for a hospital, studies have also shown that urban sprawl has a big impact on public health by increasing obesity and respiratory diseases such as asthma. Eugene data shows that driving multiplies with distance from the city core, which is served by the regions main transit terminal and walkable and bikeable from housing for a large part of the regions population.
But whether federal officials will comply with the federal order from 1978 is uncertain. The IRS balked at the order and moved its offices out of central Fresno, Calif., and the BLM and Forest Service have moved to offices on the edge of Springfield. But in 2004 Albuquerque won an appeals court decision in a case calling for the Interior Department to follow the anti-sprawl order. ã Alan Pittman
SAVE TRAPPER? TRAPPER SAVED!
After years of protests and court battles, the Trapper timber sale has been stopped ãfor now ãby a U.S. District Court decision on May 24. Seneca timber has been fighting to log the 155 acres of pristine old-growth trees in the McKenzie River watershed, and groups including Cascadia Wildlands, Cascadia Forest Defenders and Oregon Wild have been fighting back. The sale was first proposed in 1998 and sold to Seneca in 2003.
Trapper's trees provide habitat for red tree voles, the food of choice for endangered species listed northern spotted owls, and the sale is located in the watershed that provides Eugene with its drinking water.
The campaign to halt Trapper was "a broad coalition of groups and it included direct action and fighting in the courts,” says Jason Gonzales of Cascadia Forest Defenders.
Gonzales says hed like to encourage the public to call and thank the Forest Service in advance for not appealing the decision and for not restarting an environmental impact statement to attempt to again log the trees.
"Id like to say thank you to Seneca for backing off this timber sale, but Seneca has been nothing but ruthless,” he says.
If the Forest Service makes a new decision that meets the requirements of the law, then there is the possibility it could move forward again with the sale. Meeting those requirements has proven difficult for the agency in the past.
"We are taking some time over the next couple of weeks to review the court decision carefully and look at our legal, contractual and management options. We understand that there is public interest in this project and will get back to you as soon as we can with further information about how we intend to proceed,” says Meg Mitchell, forest supervisor for the Willamette National Forest.
The battles over Trapper have ranged over the years from a Cascadia Forest Defender-led protest at Seneca founder Aaron Jones home to treesits in the woods and in town. On the legal front, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild have twice successfully challenged the species impacts opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They argued USFW had illegally issued opinions that would have allowed the Trapper timber sale to proceed despite negative effects to threatened wildlife.
Dan Kruse of Cascadia Wildlands and Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center filed the suit in district court that has put the brakes on Trapper. Kruse says that the Forest Service failed to address significant new information that has arisen since the agency issued a decision on the project in 2003.
When the groups filed suit in October 2010, TheRegister-Guardweighed in on the sale in an editorial, 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 logging would yield ã Trapper is an area where logging is studied to see how it can make forest structures similar to those created by fire ã but the scientists themselves wrote in a letter that logging Trapper would "not yield stand-level lessons of high value for contemporary logging practices.”
Federal Judge Thomas Coffin wrote in his ruling: "Central decisions affecting the analysis and approval of the Trapper timber sale were based on a factual inaccuracy and the public has yet to be informed of the actual findings.” He wrote that the public is entitled to be accurately informed of the impact of the proposed action on endangered species listed northern spotted owls and be given "meaningful opportunity” to weigh in. ã Camilla Mortensen
WOW TREES TO STAY STANDING
The fight over the removal of two of the three bigleaf maple trees outside the WOW Hall has become a compromise. The city of Eugene Parks and Open Space Division has decided to allow both of the threatened trees to remain standing with careful management to allow replacement trees time to grow and provide cultural and economic benefits to the historic music venue.
The two trees were originally slated for removal due to the presence ofGanodderma Spp.,a decaying fungus, as well asArmillariashoestring root rot, and city officials were concerned the trees were not structurally sound. The WOW Hall asked for and was given time to hire an independent contractor to reassess the trees due to the shade and energy savings the maples provide, as well as their historic standing and notation on the WOW Halls listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
After reviewing the independent contractors report, the city originally decided that the northern tree would be cut and the southernmost tree would stay standing as long the WOW Hall kept up with annual inspections and remedial pruning. Eugenes urban forester Mark Snyder said that the city originally maintained its decision over the second tree because it disagreed over the scores of safety given by Damon Shrosk, the independent arborist hired by the WOW Hall to analyze the trees.
The WOW Hall appealed the decision, and both the trees were given a reprieve for several more years if the WOW Hall meets conditions for their care.
Jon Pincus of the WOW Hall says the venue has until June 15 to get the trees taken care of and the city reserves the right to remove the trees at any time if the bigleaf maples become a concern. ã Brit McGinnis and Camilla Mortensen
World Naked Bike Ride Day is Saturday, June 11, and Eugene cyclists will join thousands of other cyclists around the world to celebrate the human body and the bicycle, which together form the most efficient transportation ever created. "We will ride our bikes nude (or nearly nude) to remind our fellow travelers that bicyclists are vulnerable when facing two-ton metal monsters and all of us are vulnerable because of our addiction to fossil fuels,” says Ralph Forrest-Ball, one of the organizers.
Participants will meet near Skinner Butte Park, at the corner of Cheshire and Lawrence at 4 pm. The route will be determined at that point and will begin at 4:30 pm. Participants are encouraged to wear helmets and ride "as bare as you dare.” Colorful costumes and body paint are also welcome. Come early and bring musical instruments and food to share with other riders. For more information, email email@example.com or visit www.worldnakedbikeride.org
FOLKLIFENETWORK EARNS GRANT
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently awarded the Oregon Folklife Network (OFN) a $40,000 grant to support the reestablishment of their Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP). Formerly known as the Oregon Folklife Program, UO-based OFNs mission is to document, sustain and promote Oregons folklife and cultural heritage through research and public programming.
"I know its a time when the NEA has had to suffer certain budgetary cuts themselves, its very heartening and encouraging to know that at a national level the federal agencies continue to give high regard to traditional arts and folk arts,” said Emily Afanador, OFN program manager.
The TAAP program will fund lessons between master crafts people and new apprentices within cultural communities. Afanador explains that skills are defined broadly to include visual arts, music, dance, oral tradition, foodways, ceremonial dress, etc. "Oregonians from various cultural backgrounds who carry with them cultural traditions from their homes (places of origin) enrich Oregons diversity and culture here within the state. Its important that these traditions and cultural practices are carried on from generation to generation,” Afanador said.
Lisa Gilman, UOs folklore program director and associate professor, explained in a recent email to EW that the TAAP program provides opportunities for people to showcase and share their artistic practices, documents traditional artists and arts, and archives this documentation with other communities through exhibits, interactive websites and library databases.
In addition to the TAAP grant, the Archives of Northwest Folklore will receive $5,250 in grant funds for its open-access, web-based union catalog of folklore archival repositories and collections. According to Gilman, the archive project recently received just under $258,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities for its first phase, from June 2011 to May 2013.
Archivist and UO librarian Nathan Georgitis explained that users must come to the UO libraries to use the collections at first, however, collection materials will be digitized and made available online in the future.
Georgitis will also be working on materials related to TAAP. "The OFN must now work closely with traditional artists and communities of practice to realize this potential and develop a sustainable apprenticeship program that is grounded in, and supported by local individuals, communities and organizations,” Georgitis said.
Afanador explained that OFN is a network model with partners such as Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Heritage Tradition, among others. With the help of its partners, OFN is in the process of reestablishing contact with former TAAP awardees.
The OFN is one of four NEA recipients in Rep. Peter DeFazios district. The congressman has advocated for arts funding. The other awardees are the Clarion Foundation for literature, Eugene Ballet and the UO Music Department. ã Heather Cyrus
« The Science Factory will offer families its first Farm Food Festival from 11 am to 3 pm Saturday, June 4. The event is geared towards families with children, and will give young visitors to the museum the opportunity to investigate where fruits, vegetables, and dairy products come from.The event is free for Science Factory members and included with exhibit hall admission of $4 for non-members.
« The Take Back the Tap (TBTT) campaign by Food and Water Watch, is now being run on the UO campus by the Climate Justice League, and seeks to discontinue the sale, purchase and distribution of bottled water. The group says the UO administration is giving tentative support to the campaign. "President Lariviere has final say over whether or not our policy becomes a reality on this university, so having his support is very exciting,” says Manny Garcia, a campaign coordinator. UO will be the first school in the Oregon University System and in the PAC 12 to implement a campuswide discontinuation by passing this policy.
Lane County Spray Schedule
« Greenleaf/Nelson Creek: Nicks Timber Service (503-910-1120) will ground spray 6000 feet of roadsides for the Oregon Department of Forestry with Element (triclopyr ester) starting June 6th (No. 2011-781-00393).
« ODOT: Still spraying highways. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information.
« If you have suffered any ill effects from ODOT spraying, please let Forestland Dwellers know. We are encouraging ODOT to mow or manually manage vegetation in lieu of spraying.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
« 1,576 U.S. troops killed* (1,564)
« 11,541 U.S. troops wounded in action (11,314)
« 763 U.S. contractors killed (763)
« $418.6 billion cost of war ($403.8 billion)
« $119 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($114.8 million)
« 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)
« 31,931 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,931)
« 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
« 1,537 U.S. contractors killed (1,537)
« 110,421 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (110,061)
« $781.3 billion cost of war ($781.3 billion)
« $222.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($222.1 million)
Through May 30, 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)
« On Memorial Day we remembered those who died for us in Iraq for, for ... what exactly did they die for? For Bushs reelection? For Dick and Rummys delusions of weapons of mass destruction? Because Saddam dissed Shrubs dad? To replace a dictator with corruption, election fraud and civil war? WTF? Why has America put up with this for almost a decade? The reasoning goes something like this: If we admit the war was wrong, then we are disrespecting those who died by admitting they died for nothing. Then more and more young people have to die to keep the never-ending denial going on and on, coffin after coffin, Memorial Day after Memorial Day.
« By far the best Memorial Day message we saw covered most of page A7 of The Register-Guard Monday, May 30. More than 800local residents signed an ad asking to "stop the wars and challenge corporate greed.” Progressive Responses, a program of Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC), urged us to demand that our elected officials"invest in the future of the planet and its people, not wars and the feeding of greed.” Seems so simple that we should stop glorifying wars, greed and selfishness and start demanding real democratic solutions.If you want to work with CALC, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 485-1755.
« When will the R-G stop mass distributing instructions on how to commit suicide with its hyped, explicit coverage of suicide "kits” made from readily available materials? Speaking of assisted suicide, the state of Oregon is rushing to assist in the suicide of murderer inmate Gary Haugen, who waived his right to appeal his death sentence.
« A nod goes to Aaron and Marie Jones of Seneca-Jones Timber and other local forest-oriented enterprises on breeding Preakness winner Shackleford. The Joness top-ranked stallion Forestry is the sire of Shackleford. Shackleford came in fourth in the Kentucky Derby and is slated to race in the last race of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, on June 11. Forestry has also sired racers with names like Forest Danger, Understory and Forest Camp (standing at stud in South Korea). Another of Forestrys offspring, Drosselmeyer, won the Belmont Stakes last year. The Triple Crown is the crown jewel of horse racing with millions of dollars in prize money, and many breeders never breed a horse that makes it to that level.
« Looks like former Lane County commissioner Bill Fleenors break from politics was short-lived. Lane County Elections is reporting that Fleenor is the winner in the race between three write-in candidates for the Port of Siuslaw commissioners seat vacated by Ralph "Bud” Saulsgiver. Were glad to see Fleenor is not letting political attacks like the case filed by former commissioner Ellie Dumdi and retired Eugene linen company owner Ed Anderson, funded by Seneca timber, discourage him from public service.
« Theres supposedly a recession going on, but downtown Eugene is booming as it hasnt done in decades with three large building projects within two blocks of the heart of the city. Its great to watch the LCC, Beam and Bennett projects going up. The projects were subsidized with urban renewal tax diversion and the city promising to lease space, but they provide a much needed kick-start to a better downtown. We hope the struggling small businesses downtown can survive long enough to benefit from the increased foot traffic thats coming.
« Why do many people twist religion so dangerously in this age of mass education and enlightenment? Many thousands of Americans were shocked and disappointed when the rapture didnt sweep them up to heaven May 21. Millions around the world are willing to kill or die based on their own or someone elses interpretation of "holy” writings. Even some of our readers were highly offended by our reference to "Zombie Jesus,” an irreverent internet phenomenon. Religion can inspire great art and music and otherwise enrich our lives with positive ethics and philosophy, insights into the human condition, and a sense of community. But religion can also foster bigotry and intolerance; and when religion overrides science and logic with magic and folklore, it impedes humanitys progress. Whats the solution? A little humorous perspective can help, along with not taking literally every religious story and admonition. Thomas Jefferson had a good idea: He took a razor blade to his New Testament and cut out what he called "the nonsense,” leaving only a 46-page "sublime and benevolent code of morals.”
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