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Eugene Weekly : News : 9.15.11





News Briefs:
Residents Object to Aerial Spray | Elliott Forest Closes Roads | Car-Free 5th on Sunday | Pierce Barn Going Down? | Nobels Say No to Tar Sands | Celebrate Hispanic Heritage | Homestead Workshop | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lighten Up | Corrections/Clarifications |

Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes

News:

‘Smart’ Meters

Will EWEB’s radios be worth the cost?

Something Euge!

 

 


RESIDENTS OBJECT TO AERIAL SPRAY

A recent helicopter spraying of toxic herbicides by Giustina Land and Timber has upset nearby residents who say the company ignored a request to notify them 12 hours in advance in order to allow families with children, the elderly and the infirm to leave before the spray. Neal Miller, who lives on Fox Hollow Road, near where the spray was conducted, says Giustina “wouldn’t even discuss” the issue with the concerned neighbors. 

The neighbors are worried about not only about the health affects of the chemicals that could drift from the Giustina’s privately owned forestland onto their properties, but the effects of the chemicals on their organic farms. 

“Chemical invasions of people’s bodies and homes should not be allowed in Oregon,” says Eugene attorney Charlie Tebbutt who delivered a letter to the company asking Giustina to refrain from aerial spraying and asking for a dialogue about the spray with the community.

Tebbutt says, “Our letter basically said if anyone gets harmed by this, you are now on notice.” He adds, “They can’t deny that they knew people and businesses were put in harm’s way by their activities.”

The company’s response to the letter was to tell them “nobody’s allowed on Giustina’s land,” Miller says.

“We’re not interested in going on their land,” he says, and Giustana won’t return phone calls and “they’ve been stonewalling us and everybody else.”

Giustina Land and Timber did not respond to EW’s request for comment by press time.

According to the permit, the spraying could take place any time between Aug. 31 and Dec. 31.

The spray was conducted on the morning of Sept. 9, according to Miller. He says that he and other families within a two-mile range of the clear cut and sprayed land are looking for a lab to test their urine. 

Twenty-one Triangle Lake residents, who have also fought the use of pesticides near their homes and farms, had tests conducted on their urine and discovered increased levels of pesticides within 24 hours of a nearby spray. 

The spray notice said among the pesticides that would be used were Oust, Escort, Polaris, Garlon 3a and 4, Milestone VM and Accord. Agronomist Stuart Turner called the pesticides that were sprayed on Fox Hollow and Hamm roads, “largely the worst of the worst from several perspectives” in an analysis he did of the chemicals.

Miller and other neighbors worry more sprays will take place as Giustina continues to log the area and as trees for future harvest are planted.

 “The hope is that at the very least Giustina is done spraying, and if they are not, we hope they will let the neighbors know if they do plan to spray further,” Tebbutt says.

Miller says, “We are evaluating our legal options at this point with attorneys.”  — Camilla Mortensen

ELLIOTT FOREST CLOSES ROADS

The Oregon Department of Forestry has mandated road closures in the Elliott State Forest for “safety reasons,” according to a press advisory, as well as to “ensure the state’s ability to meet contractual obligations for timber sale harvests.”

The road closures began Sept. 2, apparently in response to recent protests by Cascadia Forest Defenders. According to ODF, the roads that were closed are near active timber sales, but Jason Gonzales of CFD alleges that some of the roads listed are not active logging roads.

CFD has made the Elliott the focus of a campaign to stop logging in the native coastal forests and has staged treesits and other protests to call attention not only to the effects of logging on animals such as endangered species-listed marbled murrelets and the more common mountain beaver, but also to the effects of logging on people. 

Barb Shamet, whose property borders the Elliott, sued to stop clearcut logging above her farm alleging the logging and the landslides that could happen as a result — an ODF report classified the timber sale as being in a high landslide hazard area — will reduce the value of her property. According to the ODF report, debris from a landslide could enter Shamet’s property.

When Shamet and CFD protested the logging near her farm on Aug. 8, ODF read and handed out a letter that told the protesters that their actions in the forest were illegal.

According to attorney Lauren Regan of the Eugene-based Civil Liberties Defense Center that was unconstitutional. She says the letter, which notified the recipients that their actions were illegal and subject to arrest, was handed out not only by ODF but by contractors and “was given to people who were lawfully standing in the roadway, not committing any crimes.” The letter was signed by Louise Solliday, director of the Department of State Lands.

Regan says after ODF’s lawyers at the Department of Justice were notified of the problematic letter, they admitted it had been handed out without DOJ input.

She says closure orders must be narrowly tailored on public lands. “People are allowed to assemble as long as they do so lawfully,” she says.

Gonzales says that he thinks the road closures were in “direct response to losing the battle over the letters, from their own wording and from their own timeline.” The road closure order was issued only days after the Department of Justice confirmed ODF would no longer hand out the cease-and-desist letters, he says. ODF Public Affairs Director Dan Postrel says such letters may be used in the future in consultation with ODF’s legal counsel.

ODF cites activities “including constructing road barriers, trenching road surfaces and hanging ropes across roads” as reasons for the closure. ODF says that “timber sale contracts include an end date for completion of harvest activities, and the state is obligated to ensure that the purchasers are able to access the sale units and conduct timber harvests in a safe, timely way.” 

Gonzales says, “We think it is outrageous that ODF would cut off public access to public lands.” He also points out that the closure could make it difficult for groups such as the Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team that conduct surveys of species such as marbled murrelets to look for those animals, as well as affect hunters and recreational users.

The ODF-managed Elliott State forest is primarily Common School Fund land that is overseen by the State Land Board, made up of the governor, secretary of state and the state treasurer. The SLB will be voting how the Elliott will be managed for the next 10 years in early October. 

Gonzales says CFD is currently concentrating its efforts on Gov. Kitzahaber and the upcoming SLB decision.

For more information on the proposed Elliott management plan, go to http://wkly.ws/13yCamilla Mortensen

 

CAR-FREE 5TH ON SUNDAY

The city will close a 3-mile route downtown Sunday, Sept. 18, for the city’s first ever street celebration of biking, strolling, rolling and fun.

“It’s going to be a really great event,” said organizer Lindsay Selser with the city’s transportation planning department. “It’s super, super fun.”

The Eugene Sunday Streets event from noon to 4 pm will close 5th Avenue to cars so people can take back the streets for their exercise and enjoyment.

The free event, which includes music and fitness classes, is modeled on similar street closures in hundreds of other cities including Portland to fight the obesity epidemic and promote active transportation, community, the environment and livability.

The moveable street party stretches from the 5th Street Market to the Whiteaker neighborhood and includes a loop around Skinner Butte. 

A pedal-powered stage at Washington/Jefferson Park will include performances by indie folk rock band Kingdom County, Alseny Yansane’s Won Tan Nara Drum & Dance Ensemble, DJ Dream Dusters Experience and bluegrass band the Conjugal Visitors. Activities in the park also include a African dance class, a bike safety rodeo, a family bike ride, bicycle drag races, a hula hoop class and slackline rope walking.

At the Campbell Community Center activities include line dancing, dancing to a DJ, a guided history walk of the Skinner Butte historic neighborhood, and exercise, yoga, and Tai Chi classes, all for free. At the Lamb Cottage in Skinner Butte Park, the city will provide a free arthritis fitness class and field games and activities for kids including face painting. 

For more information or to volunteer to help with the event go to http://bit.ly/qQ9dlR or call 541-682-5094.  — Alan Pittman

PIERCE BARN GOING DOWN?

“Old Barn seeks fruitful companionship to share vintage memories, passion for our longevity and heritage, and productive days in our golden harvest years ahead,” says the Missed Connections ad on Craigslist. The historic Dr. Pierce barn in Cottage Grove is slated for demolition by its current owner, Doug Stout of Creswell.

The barn, built in the early1900s, stands on private property and can be seen from Highway 99 with its advertisement for one of the traveling “doctor’s” remedies: “For your liver, Dr. Pierce’s Pleasant Pellets.” The barn is on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Historic Preservation League of Oregon’s list of most endangered places (along with Eugene’s Civic Stadium).

Over the past century, the barn has been embedded in Cottage Grove’s history and has most recently been at the center of negotiations as a group of citizen activists teamed up with the town’s historical society to try to preserve it despite the owner’s efforts to tear it down. A 20-year conservation easement that was placed on the barn the last time it was threatened in 1989 has expired. 

The current effort to demolish the Dr. Pierce barn first came to light in April 2010 as Stout said the barn had become an eyesore and was devaluing his property. After concerned citizens tried to sway the owner from making any decisions to demolish the barn, formal planning efforts began in July 2011 in compliance with the demolition timeline approved by the Cottage Grove Planning Commission.

“On Wednesday, Sept. 7, the Historical Society Board of Directors elected not to pursue saving the Dr. Pierce Barn from demolition at this time,” the Cottage Grove Historical Society said in an announcement sent to EW.

The Save the Dr. Pierce Barn Committee decided not to pursue saving the historic relic after considering many options. The committee considered purchasing it with grants or loans but the top appraisal of $195,000 was far less than the owner’s asking price of $285,000. The committee evaluated the cost to restore it and found out it would be too much. According to the announcement, moving the barn is also not an option as “The landowner has taken off the table any talk of dismantling or moving the barn.”

The historical society said that some “historically-minded individuals” are still looking for ways to save the barn, coming up with ideas and scenarios in hopes that outreach, education and information will inspire further efforts to purchase the property. For more info go to cottagegrovehistoricalsociety.com or the barn’s Facebook page http://wkly.ws/13z Kendall Fields

NOBELS SAY NO TO TAR SANDS

Winona LaDuke was one of the first to raise awareness in Oregon about the toxic Canadian tar sands and the megaloads of equipment that use the Columbia River as a route for the machinery. LaDuke is now joined by nine Nobel Laureates in saying no to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that would carry the oil from Canada through the U.S. to Texas.

According to NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who was one of the more than one thousand celebrities and ordinary citizens arrested at the recent Tar Sands Action protests in front of the White House, “producing oil from tar sands emits two-to-three times the global warming pollution of conventional oil.” Tar sands oil is also said to be dirtier and more toxic than conventionally produced oil, which may have been a factor in this summer’s Silvertip Pipeline leak into the Yellowstone River. 

After the U.S. State Department gave the go ahead to the Keystone XL pipeline, leaving the decision in the hands of President Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and seven other Nobel Peace Laureates wrote a letter to the president urging him to reject the pipeline.

The letter says, “In asking you to make this decision, we recognize the thousands of Americans who risked arrest to protest in front of the White House between August 20th and September 3rd.”  It continues, “They represent millions of people whose lives and livelihoods will be affected by construction and operation of the pipeline in Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.”

Eugene resident and freelance writer Monica Christoffels was one of the more than 1,200 people arrested at the White House protest. She says, “I felt very disappointed to see my government ignore the entirely possible threat of a pipeline spill or break, which would poison the water table of eight different states — not to mention all of the detrimental impacts on human and all other biological communities from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Meanwhile in the Northwest, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and other protesters have been blocking megaloads and organizing actions against the continued use of the Columbia River and the wild and scenic highway route through Idaho and Montana by the megaloads of tar sands extraction equipment. — Camilla Mortensen

 

CELEBRATE HISPANIC HERITAGE

Anyone who can trace roots back to a Spanish-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere has something to celebrate in Kesey Square on Sept. 15 when Eugene Arte Latino kicks off Hispanic Heritage month with a day of art, poetry, talks, dance and song.

Local artists and performers from different Latin countries will gather to commemorate the independence of Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Chile from Spain. The independence day of each country falls within three days of the others, with Mexico and Chile achieving independence on Sept. 16 and 18, respectively.

Scheduled appearances include Eugene mayor Kitty Piercy, poet Jesús Sepúlveda, Mariachi Oro y Plata, Ballet Folklorico and many others. Art from the Latin art exhibit Nuestras Tradiciones will be displayed. The free event runs from 6 to 8:45 pm at Kesey Square. More information at eugeneartelatino.wordpress.com — Brit McGinnis

 

HOMESTEAD WORKSHOP 

A unique, three-hour workshop on urban homesteading for families is planned for 12:30 to 3:30 pm Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 40th and Donald. The event was originally set for Sept. 25.

The workshop will introduce families to “a new and exciting way of life called urban homesteading,” according to an email circulating locally.

UO law professor Mary Wood and her three children (Sage, 13; Cam, 11; and Nick, 5) will conduct the hands-on workshop using homestead equipment to demonstrate skills. Kids (with their parents) will engage in various activities and receive token gifts and handouts to take home.  

The workshop will cover 1) establishing a year-round garden, 2) raising chickens and other micro-livestock, 3) storing a food supply in root silos, 4) canning fruits and tomatoes, 5) drying and freezing fruits and vegetables, 6) cooking from scratch (featuring bread and soup), 7) eliminating waste and packaging and more.

Contact stevenjgoldman@gmail.com

 

ACTIVIST ALERT

• The 28th annual Coast Conference is Saturday, Sept. 17, in Newport. The conference draws Oregonians from throughout the state who want to learn more about its natural history and current issues. Registration is at http://oregonshores.org

 • Western Environmental Law Center’s “Breathing Easier” celebration and fundraiser will be from 4:30 to 7 pm Sunday, Sept. 18, at Rivers Turn Farm, 31139 Lanes Turn Road in Coburg. The event honors the successful campaign to end field burning in Oregon. Suggested donation is $30-$50. Email marlette@westernlaw.org or call 359-3240. 

• A Forest Web fundraiser is planned for 7:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the Axe & Fiddle, 657 East Main St., Cottage Grove. Poetry Night will include literary humor by the Cottage Grove Harpies & Friends. 

 

WAR DEAD  

In Afghanistan

•  1,757 U.S. troops killed* (1,749)

• 13,700 U.S. troops wounded in action (13,609)

• 887 U.S. contractors killed (887)

• $453.6 billion cost of war ($451.6 billion)

• $133.9 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($133.4 million)

In Iraq

• 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)

• 31,921 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,921) 

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

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

• 111,938 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (111,864)

• $794.9 billion cost of war ($794.1 billion) 

• $234.7 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($234.5 million)

Through Sept. 12, 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)

 

LIGHTEN UP

by Rafael Aldave

Glenn Beck is coming out against football. After hearing the phrase “time of possession” used in a game, he concluded that for part of the contest the teams were under the influence of evil spirits.

 

CORRECTIONS/CLARIFICATIONS

In our cover story on BRING’s 40 anniversary last week we wrote about the new BRING plaza design by Ethan Rainwater but failed to mention that the “Sousaflowers” centerpiece sculpture was by metal artist Jud Turner. A photo of this piece and Turner’s other art in progress at BRING can be found at http://wkly.ws/13x

 

 

 

SLANT

• Will Eugene lose its major UO off-ramp from I-5 for two years? ODOT hasn’t made it public yet but we hear from multiple reliable sources that ODOT’s Major Projects team is working with local transportation folks on a plan to close exit 192 that drops northbound freeway traffic onto Franklin Boulevard during the next phase of reconstruction associated with bridge replacement. Fortunately, the 191 Glenwood exit a short distance south also drops onto Franklin, though not so conveniently. Why two years? We hear ODOT’s thinking is to get drivers in the habit of using the Glenwood exit instead of opening and closing the UO exit multiple times during the construction, leaving freeway drivers confused. Various dates have been mentioned, but this change could happen as early as Oct. 3.

• Rumors have a new owner lined up for the old Eugene Clinic building at 12th and Willamette, but PeaceHealth tells us some buyers are interested in the property, but no deal yet. “Believe me, no one will be more excited than us to announce the sale of that site,” says spokesperson Jenny Ulum. “it will be wonderful to see it put into use along with all the other exciting developments downtown.” Meanwhile, PeaceHealth Medical Group downtown docs are getting ready for their big move to the University District Campus by UO.

Bob Bussel’s classy speech to City Club Sept. 9 suggested that American media talks too little about workers and unions. We agree. As the director of LERC (the UO Labor Education and Research Center) and an associate professor of history, he has closely watched the decline of private sector unions to 7 percent of the workforce. The country is not really talking about the problems that brings, partly because mainstream media management has a history of conflict with labor unions. They don’t much like them. So, the American worker needs other avenues to tell his/her story. Let’s circulate the Bussel speech through high schools and college classes in this community. That’s a small start for organized labor to spread its story. 

• Well known in Eugene for his brilliant work founding the Oregon Bus Project, Jefferson Smith has announced that he’s running for mayor of Portland against former city councilor Charlie Hales and New Seasons Market co-founder Eileen Brady. Mayor Sam Adams, who grew up in Eugene, is not running again. Smith’s decision is quite a shocker. A Democratic state rep. from East Portland, he is considered a smart, charismatic trainee for governor, senator, whatever. Maybe his decision makes sense if you remember Neil Goldschmidt, another Eugene native, who went from Portland mayor to Oregon governor to U.S. secretary of transportation to big-time power broker. Smith is close to Gov. Kitzhaber, so the decision could also mean that Kitzhaber intends to run for another term after the goodwill this one has generated so far. The big question: Can Smith win the mayor’s race or will Brady beat the two men?

• Amid all the dramatic 9/11 observances this past weekend was something more subtle and unique, the 120th consecutive monthly gathering of the Interfaith Prayer Service at the 100-year-old First Christian Church downtown. This was a refreshing and hopeful event for those of us who have grown weary of seeing terrorist mug shots and watching people jump out of the flaming Twin Towers over and over again. The theme of the prayer service was “Compassion and Unconditional Love: The Way to Peace.” We could use a healthy infusion of compassion into our fear-based foreign policy today. 

Some related news came out of this interfaith event. We heard from UO professor Steven Shankman, UNESCO chair in Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue and Peace, that a resolution in support of the “Charter for Compassion” will be presented to the Eugene City Council in October. About 76,000 people have signed onto the document at http://charterforcompassion.org and Mayor Kitty Piercy tells us the document “seems to fit with our human rights city work.”

Pay raises for UO administrators are discussed in a highly critical new report from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503 titled “Holding OUS Accountable: A Question of Priorities” (http://wkly.ws/141). The 11-page white paper says “Oregon’s underfunded public universities have compounded their fiscal plight by squandering resources on a bloated administrative bureaucracy and debt service for a veritable building spree, jeopardizing students’ educational needs and short-changing faculty and front-line staff.” The report calls for reduced supervisory ratios, administrators sharing in the “sacrifices,” and a full review of OUS spending priorities. 

 

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