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Eugene Weekly : News : 9.22.11





News Briefs:
Forest Plans in Congress | Sunday Streets | Better Access to County Records | Time To Sell Your Gold? | Rootstalk Celebrates Herbalism | Springfield to Get Own City Club | Activist Alert | Lane County Spray Schedule | War DeadLighten Up |

Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes

News:

Bike and Walk

New plan could transform city

Something Euge!

Happening People: Laura Hinrichs

 

 


FOREST PLANS IN CONGRESS

Congressman Peter DeFazio is hoping that when it comes to Oregon’s contentious debates over logging on its 2.4 million acres of Bureau of Land Management O&C lands, conservationists and the timber industry can both have their cake and eat it too. 

DeFazio has been working on a plan that he hopes will preserve old-growth forests, get counties more funding as county payments draw to an end and make logging a little more predictable for the timber industry. He says, “The bottom line is: How can we get counties adequate funding for essential public services?” 

“The second point,” he says, is “how can we resolve this ongoing dispute over the public lands, which really revolves around preserving the last of the old growth and treating the lands more responsibly from a conservation perspective and from an industry perspective more predictability coming off those lands.”

Drawing from a proposal by Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, DeFazio says the plan would be to split the lands between conservation and logging and have each of the two sections managed by a board of trustees creating a conservation trust and a timber trust. 

Josh Laughlin of local conservation group Cascadia Wildlands is a little skeptical of the plan. “We recognize the predicament our counties are in and support innovative ideas to generate revenue for them,” he says, “but turning over a million acres of our public forestlands to Wall Street, cut-and-run types will not result in clean air, clean water and habitat hospitable to iconic species like salmon — rather just the opposite.”

DeFazio says so far this plan has not been written up into legislation, and exactly what percentage of land would go into each trust has not been decided. “We’re not even certain legislation would set exact percentages,” he says, and adds that much of that sort of decision-making can’t be done until a detailed inventory of the land in question is finished.

 DeFazio says support for the idea has come from Gov. John Kitzhaber, who is “very interested,” and Sen. Jeff Merkley. He says Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Kurt Schrader have expressed interest and Republican Rep. Greg Walden “agreed to sit down and talk about it.” 

DeFazio says the conservation trust part of the plan would provide “permanent protection to old growth, which right now doesn’t exist, and it’s all being decided in the courts.” He says, “Someday it’s all going to go to the Supreme Court, and I don’t want the Supreme Court deciding much of anything that I care about.”

He says while this might seem like a county issue to others in Washington, D.C., when it gets down to finances, “the BLM is spending $110 million a year to manage these plans, and there’s not much management going on.”

 On Thursday, Sept. 22, the House Natural Resources Committee will discuss a separate Republican-led draft proposal to address the expiration of the Secure Rural Schools Act. That proposal doesn’t address the O&C lands, though a press release says the legislation “provides for future inclusion of proposals to address other federal forest lands affected by declining timber production,” and references those lands.

 DeFazio says, “They call it a trust, but it has nothing to do with a trust. It’s not a trust like what we’re looking at.” He says the draft legislation raises “just an awful lot of questions. The bill has a lot of blanks.” He adds, “We have real problems, and we need something we can work with the Senate and the administration on.”

Laughlin says of this Doc Hastings/Walden plan: “There is a reason old-growth logging timber sale receipts were decoupled from essentially county services in the past — because species extinction was looming and the American public couldn’t stand losing any more of its iconic rainforest.” He says, “No one in their right mind should be thinking that this is a workable solution.” 

Camilla Mortensen

 

SUNDAY STREETS

Thousands of Eugeneans took back the streets from cars last weekend for the city’s first Sunday Streets event promoting active, healthy and green transportation, community and fun. The Sept. 18 event closed a three-mile route downtown including 5th Avenue to cars, giving the public space to everyone from kids with training wheels to strollers to bicyclists to hula hoopers to dancing seniors. Go to EugeneCycles.com for more pictures.

 

BETTER ACCESS TO COUNTY RECORDS?

Lane County will put a discussion of making public records more accessible and affordable on an upcoming agenda, according to Board of County Commissioners Chairman Faye Stewart. 

Lane County was going to charge $200 per computer searched for a recent public records request by EW for emails related to the decision to give Rick Dancer Media Services a contract for $40,800 versus a similar proposal by Lane Metro Television’s Robert Lewis for $14,640. The $200 public records charge was later revised down to $140-$150, but a request for a fee waiver because the records request was in the public’s interest was not addressed. 

The UO recently announced that it would waive the first $200 in fees for public records requests. Bill Harbaugh, UO economics professor and chair of the UO Senate Transparency Committee wrote in an announcement of the waiver: “The media will get this $200 waiver automatically, because of their long established role in helping make democracy work, by getting public information to the public.”

Former Commissioner Bill Fleenor says County Administrator Liane Richardson supplied The Register-Guard with emails at no charge in regard to the open meetings story that led to the subsequent timber-industry funded lawsuit. Richardson says the county did charge the R-G. She says, “(Reporter) Matt Cooper and I went back and forth as to the cost of various versions of his request until we landed on a version that he was able to afford.”  She says, “I’ve asked staff to look for the receipt. If it’s not easily accessible, there would be a cost to locate it.”

Cooper did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

Fleenor also alleges that one of the emails Richardson forwarded to Cooper violated attorney-client privilege as it contained legal advice from her to the commissioners. Richardson was Lane County’s legal counsel at the time. 

EW made a request to the county for records on public records requests and whether the R-G was charged or not. Program specialist for budget and planning Judy Williams says the county did not start tracking public records requests until April 2011 and does not have records of whether charges were made or paid. 

According to city of Springfield spokesperson Niel Laudati, public records requests in that city rarely incur charges. “Unless there is significant staff time involved, or some records take extra work to extract and print, we try to get them quickly and usually free,” he says. One April 2010 public records request from the R-G resulted in a reporter being given access to more than 5,000 emails within 48 hours at no charge, he says. He says the city simply set the reporter up with a computer in the city attorney’s office and let her review the emails on her own, then pass the emails related to her story to the attorney.

Stewart says “setting up a computer at the county that could be used to review all commissioner emails provided they weren’t privileged and protected under law” will be discussed by Richardson at the next Board of Commissioners meeting.  — Camilla Mortensen

TIME TO SELL YOUR GOLD?

Got any gold jewelry — or any gold items at all, really — that you don’t use anymore? With gold priced at such a high value right now, it seems like a pretty good time to cash it in.

Eugene Coin and Jewelry on 24th and Willamette has been buying and selling gold for 32 years. Owner David Nelkin says the store has seen an increase in the amount of gold people are hoping to sell (and the amount the store is buying) since 2008 as gold crossed into the $700 to $800 per ounce range. Nelkin says this is because of “opportunity cost” as people are seizing the opportunity to cash in their scrap gold while it is valued at such a high price. 

“We are buying a lot right now,” Nelkin says, careful not to reveal the exact amounts for security purposes. “We are probably doing 150 transactions a day. The numbers are inflated because the price of gold is so high.

The price his shop pays for gold varies by the type, karat amount and the day, according to Nelkin. He adds that for 14-karat gold (like old jewelry) Eugene Coin has paid as high as $27 to $28 per gram — however, it is currently paying $23 to $24 per gram. To put this in perspective, Nelkin explains that 25 years ago, Eugene Coin was paying prices three times less for the gold they are getting now. 

Nelkin adds one last bit of advice for sellers: “Never go to any out-of-town buyers. No motel buyers. Always deal with someone local and shop around.”  — Kendall Fields

ROOTSTALK CELEBRATES HERBALISM

Tucked away on the outskirts of Salem in a diverse 300 acres of mature forest, is a group of herbalists and others eager to get their party on this weekend — botanically speaking, that is — at the first-ever Rootstalk Festival. 

The event is hosted by Eugene’s own Mountain Rose Herbs, which boasts a product line varying from bulk herbs to coconut oil to tinctures, and it is a benefit for local conservation group Cascadia Wildlands. Rootstalk was born out of the visions of the two Mountain Rose Herbs owners who focus on herbalism and environmental conservation.

In comparison to other herbal gatherings across the country, this event is going to be a lot less “dry,” says Mountain Rose Herbs Communications Manager Erin McIntosh.

There will be three major events at the festival along with a plethora of classes to choose from, music to groove to and delicious food and drinks to dine on. 

Some of the classes include medicine-making, tree climbing and plant identification. One of the biggest goals of the event is to promote sustainability and foster a community for herbalists. 

The opening and closing ceremonies on the first and last days, respectively, will provide a chance for the class instructors to get recognized for their help and also provide a forum to honor the event’s beneficiary, Cascadia Wildlands. But McIntosh is most excited about the masquerade ball on Saturday night, where Rootstalkers can dress up in the “woodland creature” themed costume of their choice and enjoy music and fire dancing performances. 

There will also be a beer garden and a wine bar. Oakshire Brewery even brewed a special beer for the occasion called Rootstalk Gold. This single batch of golden ale uses organic herbs, like rosehips and meadow sweet from Mountain Rose Herbs. And Wild Wines will serve its medicinal and herbal wines. 

With a laid-back environment and engaging festivities, Rootstalk promises to create a community for its attendees to share their passion of herbalism and the environment. “I hope people feel a stronger connection to our native ecosystems and to the land they call home,” McIntosh says. 

Rootstalk runs from Sept. 22-25 at the Oregon 4-H Conference and Education Center in the Eola Hills. Single day admission tickets at the gate are $99, an weekend pass with camping is $249. All proceeds benefit Cascadia Wildlands. For more information go to www.rootstalkfest.com and if you can’t make Rootstalk then grab your cowgirl boots and get ready for Cascadia Wildlands’ annual Hoedown benefit in Cottage Grove Oct. 1. And check out www.cascwild.org for more info. 

Kendall Fields

SPRINGFIELD TO GET OWN CITY CLUB

Starting Oct. 20, Springfield will join six other Oregon cities in having its own city club. The lunch meetings will be held on the first and third Thursdays of the month at the Willamalane Center, 250 S. 32nd St. 

Officers in the new club are Denise Bean (president), Pat Riggs-Henson, John Tamulonis and Christine Johnson. Board members are Dan Egan, Claire Seguin, Eric Breitenstein, Rob Keefer, nancy Bigley and Sheri Moore. 

Meetings will be open to the public and members, who pay $75 a year in dues, get lunch discounted at $10. More information can be found at www.springfieldcityclub.org 

Springfield City Club will follow a format similar to City Club of Eugene. The meetings will begin at 11:45 am with welcoming remarks, a speaker or panel will address the group for about 30 minutes, and time will be allowed for questions from the audience.

The first Program Oct. 20 will be on “Thoughts from Five Mayors Past and Present.” 

 

ACTIVIST ALERT

• The local WAND chapter will talk about the recent national WAND conference in Washington, D.C., from 6:45 to 8:15 pm Thursday, Sept. 22, at the First United Methodist Church, 13th and Olive. Contact scundiff@riousa.com

• A “Waves of Hope” art raffle and auction to benefit disaster relief in Japan will be at 7 pm Friday, Sept. 23, at Opus VII, 22 W. 7th Ave. Requested donation is $100 or more. Website is www.jaalanecounty.org

• A free Harvest Festival for Human Rights will be from 2 to 5 pm Saturday, Sept. 24, at the First Baptist Church, 1175 G St. in Springfield. Sponsored by Springfield Shelter Rights Alliance. Contact safer1241@gmail.com

• Labor journalist Steve Early and National Union of Healthcare Workers President Sal Rosselli will discuss “Labor Battles Today: Lessons of the Verizon and Kaiser Strikes” at 12:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Law School 110 at UO, and at 5 pm in the Hilton Hotel Lobby Lounge downtown. Free.

• Eugene Downtown Neighborhood Association will hold a general meeting at 6 pm Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Eugene Public Library. Terri Harding will talk about Envision Eugene, Mike Sullivan will give an update on downtown projects, and Brett Rowlett will talk about progress on the LCC construction. 

• The local Tea Party, aka 9.12 Project Lane County, met in Springfield this week in preparation for a talk by Idaho Rep. Curtiss Bowers Oct. 5. Bowers will talk about the Communist Party threat to the U.S. See http://wkly.ws/142 for information.

• The Eugene Tree Foundation annual meeting is from 7:15 to 8 pm Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the WOW Hall, 8th and Lincoln. Open to the public. Beer and wine garden opens at 6:30 pm. Call 632-3683 or visit www.eugenetreefoundation.org for list of upcoming activities.

 

LANE COUNTY SPRAY SCHEDULE

• Nicholas Sumich (541) 927-6177 is doing hack and squirt with Garlon 4 on 24 acres adjacent to the wetland at Triangle Lake, T16S R07W, Sections 16 and 17. Triangle Lake is on Coho salmon-bearing stream Lake Creek. Notice 2011-781-00704.

• Seneca Jones (541) 689-1011 is doing hack and squirt on 204 acres with Polaris AC near Hamm Rd on T19S R04W, Sections 15, 23 and 24. Notice 2011-781-00607.

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

 

WAR DEAD  

In Afghanistan

•  1,765 U.S. troops killed* (1,757)

• 13,896 U.S. troops wounded in action (13,700)

• 887 U.S. contractors killed (887)

• $455.9 billion cost of war ($453.6 billion)

• $134.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($133.9 million)

In Iraq

• 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)

• 31,920 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,920) 

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

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

• 112,119 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (111,938)

• $795.8 billion cost of war ($794.9 billion) 

• $235 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($234.7 million)

Through Sept. 19, 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

A recent poll shows that playing nice with Republicans has cost Obama support from his base while making independents wonder if he shouldn’t instead be running for the school board. It’s time for Michelle to buy boxer shorts for her husband and show him how to use them.

 

 

 

SLANT

Another sneaky action by conservatives on the Lane County Commission. Conservationists around the country have been sending recommendations on BLM wilderness expansions to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he prepares to submit a final report to Congress in mid-October. With this process in mind, our elected county leaders quietly sent a letter to the BLM Aug. 18 calling not only for no more wilderness in Lane County, but also for freeing up potential wilderness lands for “active management,” i.e. roads, logging and mining. Commissioners Bozievich, Leiken and Stewart voted in favor of the letter with Handy and Sorenson objecting. A New York Times story Sept. 7 noted that “Republicans in the House have resisted putting new lands off limits to oil and gas, timber and mining developments, citing high unemployment in the West. In some cases, local officials indicated that no new wilderness is needed.” If we had heeded these same old arguments in earlier times we would have no wilderness and no national parks today. 

This action involved no public hearing, no public input, and Lane County is now on record with Congress opposing any future protections of pristine parcels in the Cascades, foothills and Coast Range.

Bad policy, bad process.

UO President Richard Lariviere made an arrogant mistake in giving hundreds of his administrators pay raises while tens of thousands of other state workers are being told to suffer pay cuts and furloughs in the name of budget-balancing shared sacrifice. Splattered on front pages, Lariviere’s big mistake will cost the state plenty in opposition to government revenue and resentment of the haughty Ivory Tower. We understand the competitive justification for pay raises for long-underpaid faculty — that means better professors and instructors for students asked to pay ever-rising tuition bills. But not raises for administrators. In this economy, they are easily replaced with overqualified people. We don’t buy Lariviere’s argument that he should be able to do whatever he wants with UO money that doesn’t come directly from the state taxes. Should state DMV administrators be able to give themselves big pay raises because most of their budget comes from fees and not taxes? 

• This weekend is the big Furthur Festival at the Cuthbert, and we hear on the streets that EPD will be cracking down on unlicensed vendors who will be in Eugene for the three-day Grateful Dead culture music festival. Cops have reportedly been handing out notices at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza reading, “It is unlawful to conduct sales in this area without a permit,” and numerous citations have been written. Vendors have been told they can’t even give away their art or merchandise and accept donations. Bartering? Nope. Just want to display your art on a blanket? Not allowed. Coincidentally, the city’s crackdown on local and visiting street vendors is coming just before the “Charter for Compassion” goes before the City Council in October. 

• Kudos to the City of Eugene for a fun, healthy and green Eugene Sunday Streets last weekend. Thousands of kids in carts, dancing grandparents, bicyclists, strolling couples, hula hoopers, slackliners and many more Eugeneans enjoyed the event that closed three miles of 5th Avenue downtown with loops at either end. This is exactly the kind of active transportation promoting, community building, fat burning, business boosting, pollution reducing event that Eugene has been starving to have for decades. We hope the city will continue its can-do attitude and repeat the event next year and even expand it to multiple weekends and routes like in many other cities. How about a Sunday Streets down south Willamette? Between downtown and the UO via 13th? A Sunday Streets/bridge pedal closing I-105 and the Ferry Street Bridge for human fun and a good cause?

• The front-page furor in both Portland and Eugene mainstream media about the NCAA investigation of Oregon football feels like rearranging the deck chairs on you know what. So far we know that the UO paid a “street agent” $25,000 to help with recruiting, a transaction that has attracted the interest of NCAA investigators. Like many NCAA violations, that’s a peppercorn compared to issues laid out by Taylor Branch in “The Shame of College Sports” in the latest Atlantic magazine, echoed in the Wall Street Journal and bouncing around the talk shows. Branch proposes paying the players. Does that make sense when they already get enviable benefits and national attention?

Getting in enough hiking and wildlife watching this summer? Now is the perfect time: Mosquitoes are few and snow-bound high trails are finally clear. This year we actually got off our butts and took a hike and lodge tour with the Obsidians, a venerable hiking and mountaineering group. Signing up for Obsidians hikes is much easier now at www.obsidians.org instead of at the YMCA bulletin board. Also check out Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Sierra Club, Audubon, McKenzie River Trust, Altair, Forest Web, UO Outdoor Program, Volkssport, Nearby Nature, Friends of Buford Park, Campbell Center, meetup groups, the city of Eugene, Willamalane and we’ve probably missed a dozen others. 

 

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

 

 

 

 

LAURA HINRICHS

“I’ve always made jam,” says Laura Hinrichs, raised in Missouri on her mother’s family farm until age 6 when her parents moved to Seattle. “My mother canned during the war.” After high school, she married and divorced twice, graduated from UC Berkeley, and taught kindergarten and ESL for five years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She married Karl Hinrichs, taught for five years more in LA, then earned a law degree in 1979 and practiced law for 15 years. “I did a lot of work before the probate bar, protective proceedings for people who lacked capacity,” she says. “It’s an area where adversarial proceedings are not the best answer.” In 2001, the Hinrichs relocated to the McKenzie River Valley east of Springfield. “I took the 0SU Extension Master Food Preservers Program in 2004,” she says. “In 2008, we were told that our program would be suspended.” Hinrichs has taken an active role among local MFPs, who have maintained ties with OSU by raising enough cash to support a one-day-a-week extension agent. “Food preservation is the poor stepchild of the sustainable food movement,” she says. “I want to focus on the esthetic side to make it available to the public. Our next event is a cheese-tasting at Newman’s Fish Market on Friday, Sept. 30. We’ll follow up with a Saturday class on cheese-making.”