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Eugene Weekly : News : 8.4.11





News Briefs: TWAC Protests Logging | A Search for Solutions | EWEB to Test Smart Meters | Black Bear Injured in Oakridge | Japanese Mayors Send Messages | Activist Alert | Lane County Spray Schedule | War Dead | Corrections/Clarifications

Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes

Something Euge!

Happening People: Patricia Cortez

 

 



TWAC PROTESTS LOGGING

TWAC! “is the lovely sound of smashing patriarchy,” say the organizers of a recent Trans and Womyn’s Action Camp. It was also the sound of jaws dropping at the Oregon Department of Forestry office in Molalla when 30 TWAC protesters showed up on Aug. 1, some dressed only in their underwear, to call attention to clearcut logging on the Elliott State Forest. 

photo courtesy TWAC

According to a press release, “TWAC was formed out of a need to make space for marginalized identities that otherwise may not be represented within the broader push for environmental justice.” The action was organized and carried out by women and trans-identified people.

Cascadia Forest Defenders and other direct action groups have resolved to make the proposed increase of clearcut logging on the Elliott from 500 acres up to 850 acres a year the focus of a long campaign. The logging increase would result in 40 million board feet of wood being taken from the forest per year.

Last week three protesters were arrested after putting up blockades and tree sits in the forest. That action was also the culmination of a CFD action camp in which activists attend workshops educating them on everything from forest issues to how to climb trees.

On the same day as the TWAC protest in Molalla, a banner was dropped over a Seven Feathers Casino billboard on I-5 that proclaimed, “Log exports? More clearcuts? Hell no!” 

The Elliott State Forest is a coast range forest with some of Oregon’s last remaining native, unlogged trees. It is home to endangered species-listed marbled murrelets and spotted owls. One of the demands the CFD tree sitters made, in addition to stopping the logging of Oregon’s native forests, was to “end the slaughter of the mountain beaver.” 

Kevin Weeks, ODF public information officer, says, “There are an extraordinary number of mountain beavers within the Elliott.” He says it is a “different genus from the iconic beloved Oregon beaver,” and calls them “large rodents.” He says the mountain beaver eat the seedlings that are planted when a clearcut is reforested. 

Weeks adds that ODF has had a policy of trapping mountain beaver in the Elliott for some years and kills about 3,000 of the animals a year.

ODF supports “the right of anyone to express their opposition to the forest management plan,” Weeks says. But “when peaceful opposition crosses a line into damage of public resources, impacts to public safety or unlawful acts,” the agency will call in law enforcement.

Jason Gonzales of CFD says the Molalla protest, which was in solidarity with the Elliott tree sit, shut down Highway 211 for several hours and resulted in the arrest of three protesters.

Meredith Cocks, who participated in the CFD action camp and was one of those arrested in Molalla, calls the clearcutting in the Elliott, “the worst in the state.”

According to the Molalla Police Department, the three women who were arrested had locked themselves together “utilizing interlocking improvised arm tubing.” About 30 other protesters, many in bright pink, some in fishnets and others in bras and panties, chanted and held signs in the ODF office, and later moved outside to the lawn. 

Gonzales says CFD’s message to ODF is “we’re in the fight to win.” — Camilla Mortensen

 




A SEARCH FOR SOLUTIONS

Shit happens to everybody, regardless of who you are or what you do. Showing up late for an important interview. Forgetting your anniversary. Running out of gas halfway between Sisters and Eugene. Getting soused the night before that big midterm. Cavities. 

For Sara Iback, shit happened in a big way. Living in Wisconsin, she decided to use the $2,500 she had saved up to move to Eugene and go to school. She’d been homeless once, but was able to claw her way back up and start anew. When she got to Eugene she found the apartment she had rented didn’t exist, and her money was nowhere to be found. Back to square one. 

Recently featured in a Register-Guard article, Iback is a member of a community in Eugene that has a somewhat dubious reputation. Anecdotes about altercations with police, aggressive panhandling, peeing and defecating on private property and other behavior issues downtown have created a distinctly negative impression on the minds of downtown residents, and whether justified or not this impression has spurred a search for solutions. 

The Downtown Neighborhood Association hosted a meeting July 27 to do just that. A sort of informational session, the meeting introduced members of downtown: business owners, residents, travelers and several organizations that provide services to the homeless. Representatives from the Eugene Police Department, CAHOOTS, Womenspace, FOOD For Lane County and the American Civil Liberties Union fielded audience questions on everything from disappearing benches to more signage for public restrooms. Most of the questions dealt with what each service provided and what individuals should do in certain situations, only rarely delving into deeper questions surrounding the issue.

“I was delighted with the meeting,” said David Mandelblatt, chairman of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. “I thought that people were very open and passionate.”

“There were some obvious differences of viewpoint,” he admitted. “But one of the strengths of downtown is our diversity, and I think we showed that quite nicely … I hope that everybody felt they were heard.”

Some people weren’t as satisfied with the limited format of the meeting, seeking a more direct approach to the problem.

“The city needs to have a designated area where people can fly signs,” said Iback, who also attended the meeting. “And they should provide permits for people who want to busk or sell on the street. Even if it’s only $15 a week, you’d still get a lot of homeless willing to pay that. I’d be willing to do that, I don’t want another $575 ticket.”

“I know that there are a lot of people who want to be out here,” she said. “But there are a lot of us who don’t.”

“Society is very bigoted; people are very judgmental,” she added. 

“A lot of misbehavior is attributed to homeless people, whether it’s justified or not,” said Mandelblatt. “What I saw (on July 27), when we’re talking about the homeless, we really don’t know who we’re talking about. When we’re talking about the homeless, we’re throwing a blanket over something that’s too big for a blanket to cover.”

“What we can do is mitigate the problem,” he said. “If I feel bad about your behavior, that’s a problem. If you pee in my doorway, that’s another problem … I can’t control what you do, but I can control what I do. What kind of person do I want to be?”

The next steering committee meeting for the Downtown Neighborhood Association will be at 6 pm Wednesday, Aug. 24 in the Singer Room of the Eugene Public Library, where they will review the results of the July 27 meeting and discuss further action. The DNA can also be contacted through its website at www.eugenedna.org, where it has a forum for posting comments. — Nils Holst



EWEB TO TEST SMART METERS

“Smart meters” will be tested in 100 Eugene homes by EWEB starting this month, and every customer could have them beginning in 2013. The meters send power usage data to EWEB by radio, and the advantages are many for the utility: no more meter readers peering over fences and stumbling over tricycles, and EWEB can gain useful information to help regulate power consumption and supply. 

But every new technology raises questions, and local energy activist Kathy Ging worries there’s a “dark side” to these meters. She questions EWEB assertions that radio frequency (RF) emissions from the meters are harmless. Clay Norris, director of power resources for EWEB, told City Club July 22 that smart meters give off about “one hundredth the amount of emissions that you get from cell phones.” EWEB’s website says RF from “smart meters does not pose a health hazard” and the meters will “generally broadcast for less than 10 seconds total each day.” 

Ging has distributed to her mailing list dozens of documents and website links warning of potential dangers of smart meters, including a letter from local research scientist Michael Lee, saying “these kinds of exposures are cumulative and come from a variety of sources, adding up in individuals.” Ging cites eoneEMFblog.net saying radiation from smart meters “may be between 50 and 160 times worse than from cell phones.” 

Lee and Ging are calling for more research, while Jeannine Parisi, community liaison for EWEB, says in an email exchange that “the information being circulated is misleading at best and lacks context and proportionality.” EWEB consultant Josh Skov of Good Company agrees, saying “these assertions, while surely well-intentioned, are unsupported in the scientific and technical literature … it’s hard to find any reason at all to be concerned.” — Ted Taylor



BLACK BEAR INJURED IN OAKRIDGE

In the words of Winnie the Pooh, “Bears love honey and I’m a Pooh bear.” A bear in Oakridge was injured July 25 by a snare set to keep it from going after beehives. Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense says both the honey stealing incident and the injury to the bear could have been prevented.

Bears, contrary to what Pooh says, don’t love honey; they love to eat the high-protein bees and larvae, according to the American Bear Association. 

Oregon is home to about 30,000 black bears, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The state was once also home to grizzly bears, but the last one was killed in Eastern Oregon in the late 1930s.

ODFW says once bears become habituated to finding food near homes or campgrounds, “bears can become a threat to human safety and must often be destroyed.”

The black bear in Oakridge was reported around town for several weeks. ODFW says it loaned a bear culvert trap to USDA’s Wildlife Services, but the bear was not caught. 

Lane County no longer funds Wildlife Services, a controversial predator-killing agency, but Wildlife Services gets money from state agencies as well as private landowners. Congressman Peter DeFazio has repeatedly introduced federal legislation to end the agency. Fahy says, “The state is spending more money on killing predators than ever before.” This, he says, flies in the face of the fact that “every month there’s been another report saying how important predators are.” 

After the culvert trap failed, Wildlife Services placed a snare, which caught the bear by the leg. The bear yanked itself free. Fahy says the bear could have lost toes and could lose its foot or die of an infection. He also questions setting a snare in city limits where a child or a pet dog could have been injured.

The Oakridge bear incident didn’t have to happen, Fahy says. He says, “Bears are incredibly responsive to hot wires and it is extremely easy to protect hives with just a few wires around them.”  Hot wire fencing is used for horses and other livestock and gives a mild shock to the animal when touched.

Brian Wolfer of ODFW was unavailable for comment but in an email to Fahy about the incident, he wrote, “I recommended an electric fence but the landowner was not willing to install one. The landowner was adamant that he wanted the bear removed.” He added, “Due to the damage from the bear, he had the legal right to kill the bear without a permit from ODFW.” As of press time, there are no reports of the bear being caught or killed. — Camilla Mortensen



JAPANESE MAYORS SEND MESSAGES

The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have sent letters to local government officials and peace activists as the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Japan approaches and local events are planned. Both mayors Matsui Kazumi of Hiroshima and Tomihisa Taue of Nagasaki are supporting the Mayors for Peace campaign to eliminate all nuclear weapons in the world by the year 2020.

 Taue wrote about the bomb that killed 74,000 Nagasaki residents and injured another 75,000. “Nagasaki fell into ruin,” he wrote. “Those who narrowly escaped death were dealt terrible, incurable physical and psychological wounds caused by the after-effects of radiation that they suffer from even today, 66 years later.”

Kazumi noted that 4,700 cities in the U.S. and abroad have signed on the Mayors for Peace initiative, and “it is evident that people around the world long for freedom from the threat of nuclear weapons.”

Lane County’s Hiroshima-Nagasaki-Fukashima Commemoration will be from 7 to 9:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 6, at Alton Baker Park near the duck pond. A community potluck will be followed by an 8 pm program featuring Japanese Koto music, Taiko drumming, Obon dancing, origami making and a call to action by Mayor Kitty Piercy. The event will close at dusk with the floating of candle lanterns on the duck pond while Koto master Mitsuki Dazai plays traditional Japanese music. 

The event is free but donations can be made to benefit Japanese tsunami survivors. Contact Michael Carrigan of CALC at 485-1755 or calcpeace@efn.org for more information.



ACTIVIST ALERT

Lane County Democrats are hosting a grand opening of their new office and a celebration of President Obama’s 50th birthday from 5 to 8 pm Thursday, Aug. 4, at 228 E. 11th Ave. in Eugene. The local Democrats’ monthly meeting will be at 6:30 pm Thursday, Aug. 18, at EWEB, 500 E. 4th Ave. in Eugene. See dpo.org for other meetings around the region.

• A candidate forum for the Lane County Youth Services director position will be at 6 pm Thursday, Aug. 4, at the Serbu Youth Campus Carmichael Room, 2727 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

• The  26th Annual Convention of Veterans For Peace will be held Aug. 4-7 on the campus of Portland State University. Keynote speakers for the national conference will include S. Brian Willson, Mike Hastie, Bud Brown, David Phillips and Elliot Adams. See www.veteransforpeace.org for schedule, registration and a link for live streaming of selected sessions, or call (314) 725-6005.  

ELAW will be the featured nonprofit at the 7 pm Thursday, Aug. 4, Ems baseball game, which means ELAW makes $3 on every $9 ticket they sell, and fans can use the tickets as a voucher for any game this season. Contact ELAW’s Michele Kuhnle at michele@elaw.org or 687-8454 ext. 14.

Susan Lindauer, the controversial former CIA asset and author who was imprisoned and describes herself as a victim of the U.S. PATRIOT Act, will speak at 7 pm Sunday, Aug. 7, at Tsunami Books at 25th and Willamette. The title of her book is, Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover-Ups of 9/11 and Iraq.

Tamarack Wellness Center is having an envelope stuffing party for a donor request mailing at 11 am Saturday, Aug. 6 in the Lily Room at the center, 3575 Donald St. in Eugene. “Join us to help support the mentally and physically disabled adults and children in our community who rely upon Tamarack’s pool for their rehabilitation,” says Leni Bader of Tamarack. Email volunteers@friendsoftamarack.org or call 210-8680. Donations can also be made on the website at www.tamarackwellness.com



LANE COUNTY SPRAY SCHEDULE

• Weyerhaeuser begins fall spray with aerial applications on 17 units including the Long Tom River and the Lorane Creek areas. Products listed include Polaris AC, Polaris SP, Rodeo, Accord, Milestone VM Plus, Sulfomet Extra, Oust Extra, Garlon 3A, Garlon 4 Ultra. Notice 2011-781-00567

• Weyerhaeuser plans to do ground applications on 29 units across Western Lane County, including the Swartz Creek, Congdon Creek, Fish Creek, Hayes Creek and other Lake Creek areas. Products listed include Polaris AC, Polaris SP, Rodeo, Accord, Milestone VM Plus, Sulfomet Extra, Oust Extra, Garlon 3A, Garlon 4 Ultra. Notices 2011-781-00571 and 2011-781-00572. 

Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org



WAR DEAD

In Afghanistan

•  1,669 U.S. troops killed* (1,669)

• 12,877 U.S. troops wounded in action (12,765)

• 887 U.S. contractors killed (887)

• $439.6 billion cost of war ($437.3 billion)

• $125 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($124.3 million)

In Iraq

• 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)

• 31,922 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,922) 

• 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)

• 1,542 U.S. contractors killed (1,542)

• 111,536 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (111,380)

• $789.4 billion cost of war ($788.6 billion) 

• $224.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($224.2 million)

Through Aug. 1, 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)

 

CORRECTIONS/CLARIFICATONS

Last week in Slant we wrote that “Scobert Park is on the agenda of the Whiteaker Community Council at 7 pm Aug. 10,” but we hear the WCC will be meeting at Scobert Park, and the park itself is not on the agenda, though it is likely to be a topic of discussion since one of the shade trees at the park was cut down last week.

 

 

 

SLANT

Lane County commissioners are considering, as we go to press this week, moving the position of county attorney to be under the direct supervision of County Administrator Liane Richardson. Seems like a bad idea. Commissioner Jay Bozievich apparently supports this idea because it will demonstrate trust in the administrator. But our county government was set up with certain checks and balances in power, and this separation is part of that. There are times when the administrator and attorney disagree on their recommendations to the commissioners. Putting the attorney under the administrator’s thumb could quash that sometimes useful independence.

Friends of Eugene’s scathing complaint about the “marred” process in the Envision Eugene industrial lands panel (see News Briefs last week) drew a beat-around-the-bush response from city Planning Director Lisa Gardner last week. The complaint by Kevin Matthews of FoE was directed at an interim report by co-chair Rusty Rexius. Matthews said FoE was concerned that the Rexius report that he described as “short, marred by error, non-consensus, and filed unilaterally by one co-chair” was being “carried forward by city staff as legitimate collaborative work output from the committee.”

“At this point, I really don’t have any response” to the complaint, Rexius told us. “The work of our committee is going to be taken up again via the Technical Resource Group, to which (co-chair) Pat Johnston and I will provide our perspectives. Where it goes from there I suppose remains to be seen.”

Gardner, who responded too late for last week’s paper, did not address the FoE issues directly, but rather praised the Envision Eugene process and said “it’s not an easy thing to stick with that commitment month after month in what can be a tense, technical meeting format.” She also said, “Being willing to work outside of your area of comfort and revisit long-held assumptions, beliefs and values is challenging.” 

The Envision Eugene process has been going on now for more than a year (see our cover story 6/17/2010) and it’s good that so many citizens are involved, despite the unwieldy process. This is local democracy in action and participants are getting educated. But we share FoE’s concerns that the committees researching the multiple issues are overloaded with development and sprawl interests, plus city staffers have historically favored development over livability. How do we reach a compromise over proposals to bulldoze and pave even more of our already compromised farm and forest lands while we have low density and underutilized land within our existing urban growth boundary?

A parallel can be found here to Congress wrestling with the deficit. In both cases, we will likely end up with a compromise nobody’s happy with, but more significantly, a compromise with negative and unintended consequences over time.

• Unconfirmed rumors are circulating that Art Robinson will not be running after all against Congressman Peter DeFazio in 2012. Is he too “damaged” from his last campaign to represent the Tea Party ticket? Robinson-watchers will recognize his face on a recent Onion spoof. He appears as a climatologist.

• Where will your teen go to school next fall? The options just expanded with the Network Charter School getting a conditional use permit for the former Temple Beth Israel building at 25th and Portland, off Willamette. “It will be our home for the foreseeable future, if not forever,” says Executive Director Mary Leighton. The school lost its lease downtown last year and Leighton says the months of uncertainty about a permanent home means the school has vacancies for the fall. The free accredited charter school within the 4J School District offers a “unique and stimulating environment” for students in grades 7 through 12. One thing we like about this alternative school is how it integrates small-class-size academics with hands-on experience in other skill-building organizations in the community, such as the Eugene Glass School and Le Petit Gourmet. Kids who are not thriving in traditional classrooms might do better in an alternative learning environment. For questions, call 344-1229 or email info@networkcharterschool.org 

• Regarding the debate over “smart meters,” do we believe EWEB officials or those who are raising red flags? (See our News Briefs this week.) These are important issues to examine and we should not ignore the potential hazards, but it appears EWEB is doing its due diligence in researching smart meters to make sure they are safe in our homes and businesses. And while we and our dogs love our friendly EWEB meter readers, that storied career path is destined for the history books.

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

 

 

 

 

PATRICIA CORTEZ

“My grandma taught me that you’re put in this world to serve,” says Patricia Cortez, who works half-time as a therapist at the Center for Family Development so that she can devote 40 hours to volunteer work. Displaced by civil war in El Salvador, Cortez was raised by her grandma in that nation’s capital. She excelled in school and made it to the university, but was drafted into the army after she organized political protests. She was injured when a soldier stepped on a mine, then escaped the hospital and entered the U.S. illegally in 1985. “I worked three jobs,” says Cortez, who also found time to volunteer. “I spent time with people with AIDS.” When her application for political asylum was accepted, she found a 40-hour job with an info-tech firm in the Bay Area, and added 20 hours elsewhere as a volunteer. “I heard about green and rain, like El Salvador,” says Cortez, who moved to Eugene in 1997. She found work at a candle company and eventually earned degrees from LCC, UO and PSU. A volunteer at Amigos Multicultural Services Center since her arrival, she facilitates the center’s youth program, Juventud FACETA, that began as her UO undergrad project. “We’re in our sixth cohort now,” she says. “Our young people do 375 hours of community service and get 125 hours of leadership training in human rights.”