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Eugene Weekly : News : 12.8.11





News Briefs: DOJ Weighs in on LNG Terminal | UO Private School Tuition | Pirates Hack the Airwaves | Who Owns the UO? | Celebrate Solstice at Museum | Awards to Local Latino Farmers | Activist Alert | Biz Beat | War Dead | Lighten Up

News:

Homeless Activism

Occupy Eugene seeks a longer stay

News:

Black Christmas

Carbon overconsumption melts North Pole

Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes

Happening People: Susane Reis

Something Euge!

 




DOJ Weighs in on LNG Terminal

When opponents to a liquefied natural gas terminal and an associated pipeline in Coos Bay predicted that the proposed import terminal would flip and become an export terminal, the natural gas industry called it a conspiracy theory.

Then in July of this year, the proposed Jordan Cove terminal in Coos Bay came clean and admitted it was looking into exporting rather than importing liquefied natural gas (LNG). In September the project and its backers applied for an export permit.

The Jordan Cove LNG import terminal project and its 234-mile Pacific Connector pipeline have had conditional Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval since December 2009. 

But on Dec. 2, the Oregon Department of Justice filed a motion to revoke the approval and reopen the record, arguing that the project is no longer in the public interest.

LNG opponents include landowners who are fighting having a gas-filled pipeline running through their lands and farms. “Pacific Connector received permission to ‘take’ our land with eminent domain because they claimed it is a public need to import natural gas, to increase domestic gas supplies so American can be assured of abundant energy,” says Francis Eatherington who co-owns farmland affected by the proposed pipeline. “But now they now claim they can use that same permit to export natural gas, that it is still in the public need. We disagree, and we don’t want to be used to enhance the energy company’s profits at the expense of the American public.”

The terminal and the pipeline have also been fought based on their possible effects on forests, which would have clearcuts through them, and on the rivers the pipeline would cross, and based on the concern that exporting natural gas would drive up prices for American consumers.

“Re-examining the administrative record before FERC makes sense,” says Susan Jane Brown, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center who has been working on the LNG issue. “Many aspects of the Pacific Connector and Jordan Cove project have changed since the initial environmental analysis several years ago, and still more aspects of the projects haven’t even been finalized yet,” she says.  

“FERC should take a fresh look at the project, and fully consider the ecological, economic and social impacts of Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector,” Brown says. — Camilla Mortensen

 

UO Private School Tuition 

Statesman-Journal columnist Dick Hughes criticized the debate about firing UO President Richard Lariviere last week as divorced from the reality of average Oregonians. 

“Amid the drama about whether the president’s departure would hinder the UO’s march to greatness,” Hughes wrote, there was “no mention of reducing tuition costs to make college more affordable to the masses.” He wrote “the disconnect between the academic world and mainstream Oregon” was “painfully obvious.”

Tuition and fees at the UO have increased 114 percent since 2000, increasing from $3,819 to $8,190 per year for state residents, according to state data. For non-residents, costs have increased 87 percent, from $13,839 to $25,830.  

Tuition and fees for state residents at the UO increased more than four times faster than per capita income in Oregon over the past decade, which rose only 24 percent to $25,893, according to the U.S. Census.

Supporters of Lariviere’s plan to separate the UO from state control argued that privatization would increase donations that would lower tuition. But that’s apparently not how the UO’s biggest donor, Nike billionaire Phil Knight, saw the plan. 

Knight told The Oregonian a year ago that the “step toward becoming more of a private university” would allow the UO president to “set his own tuition. He’s hamstrung (currently) in the sense he can’t charge more tuition than the Legislature will let him do for in-state kids.” 

UO executives have been pushing to privatize the UO for decades. In 1993, a Legislative report found that a plan to privatize the UO and quadruple tuition would price about 60 percent of students out of higher education, causing a dramatic drop in enrollment that would force big cuts in faculty and a big impact to the economy in Eugene.  — Alan Pittman



Pirates Hack the Airwaves

Turn your radio dial all the way to the left and you might start picking up broadcasts from KHAC, Eugene’s new pirate radio station at 87.5 FM, “Hearts and Crimes Radio” with the tagline, “First on the Dial, First in Your Heart.” And no, pirate radio does not involve talking like a pirate; it refers to the pirating of the airways when people start to broadcast without a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license. 

KHAC has started beta testing its transmitter and plans to be up and running by Dec. 12, occupying an unlicensed spot on local airwaves with music and talk programming. The radio roll-out is connected with the larger Occupy protest effort to shut down the West Coast ports that day, says Static, a member of the KHAC initiative. The port shutdown is a coordinated effort to shut down “Wall Street on the waterfront,” according to westcoastportshutdown.org and Portland is one the ports targeted. Dec. 12 is also the day the Eugene City Council will decide whether or not to extend Occupy Eugene’s camping permit. 

While KHAC is not affiliated with Occupy Eugene, OE was an inspiration to get it off the ground, says Daniel, a member of the core group getting the station up and running who preferred not to give his last name. He says KHAC will bring a “community voice to the airwaves,” and anticipates the programming will “dovetail with other projects” such as OE.

SpaceMonkey, a third member of the KHAC effort, says the station is already getting a lot of interest from people who want to do a show. “If there’s a desire there, then we can teach them,” he says.  

The spot KHAC will occupy on the dial, 87.5, was chosen specifically because it is on the unused end of radio spectrum. It’s so underutilized that some radios, particularly car radios, don’t even have it on the dial, according to Static. “It’s a limited edition frequency,” he says. KHAC expects the range of the station to be throughout the greater Eugene area.

Static says he knows some people will ask, “Why don’t you use the internet?” instead of radio. But KHAC’s aim it to reach the people who don’t have internet access so “some homeless person pushing a shopping cart with a transistor radio could have access.”  

Eugene hasn’t had a pirate radio station since about 2002, KHAC says. But pirate radio stations exist around the country. Santa Cruz Calif., has had a pirate radio station since 1995. That station, like KAOS Radio in Austin, Texas, was shut down by the FCC, but both were quickly back on the air, Daniel says.

Free speech is at the heart of the matter when it comes to occupying the airwaves. “Pirate radio is essentially just an unlicensed radio station,” according to Daniel. But he says the large fees that corporate stations pay to be licensed and the hoops that need to be jumped through prevent the community from being able to have access and a voice. Public radio stations can’t have a “call to action,” KHAC organizers say, which restricts free speech, as do limitations on obscenity. 

Future programming might include anything from radio broadcasts of Occupy Eugene general assemblies to talk radio and music. 

“We want to get things out there that are not being covered by corporate media,” SpaceMonkey says. 

Organizers plan to hold a fundraiser for the pirate radio station at a time and location that they will announce later. 

For more info on KHAC and its fundraiser, or to participate, email 87.5.Eugene@gmail.com or call 286-KHAC. — Camilla Mortensen



Who Owns the UO?

In arguing for the privatization of the UO, many supporters of outgoing President Richard Lariviere cited figures as low as 6 percent for the amount of the institution’s budget that comes from the state. But actual figures from state government put that percentage at least twice as high.

Last year “total state support” to the UO of $80.5 million was 12.5 percent of the “operating expense” of the UO of $644.7 million, according to numbers provided by the Oregon University System. 

Supporters of privatizing the UO with a governance board independent of state control apparently included athletics to increase the operating number and decrease the percentage. 

A fifth of all the revenue and spending at the UO goes to sports, according to a UO report to the NCAA last year. 

Opponents of handing the UO over to private control during the Lariviere debate cited another percentage, 100 percent, as the public’s ownership of all the buildings at the UO. They argued that in order to hand the UO over to private control, the public should be reimbursed for the value of the campus that it owns. 

According to OUS figures, the total replacement value of all the buildings at the UO is $1.3 billion.  — Alan Pittman 



Celebrate Solstice at Museum

The UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH) will host its 10th anniversary Winter Solstice celebration Dec. 16, promoting the wonders of animals in winter and enjoyment of rhythm and melody, with activities beginning at 5 pm. 

Long ago, the Winter Solstice was a time communities came together in the uncertainty of living through the winter and enjoyed wine and beer that was ready to drink, but its significance was diminished after the spread of Christianity. These days, after ’60s counterculture helped revive its memory, people are more aware of the solstice tradition from centuries ago.

The MNCH celebration is expected to draw 300 to 400 people and is the museum’s most popular event, according to Denise Sorom, marketing and communications specialist at the museum. She hopes the event will be a time to reflect on seasonal change and come together as a community.

“It is purely a secular celebration but just has this festive feel to it and attracts a very diverse group,” said Sorom.

Animals will be the center focus of the evening, with Dick Lamster, former president of the Audubon Society of Lane County, giving a presentation on birds in winter. The MNCH will also debut a set of animal marionettes that include a wooly mammoth and a saber-toothed salmon to teach children about the solstice. Other planned events include storytelling of how the beaver got his tail and other animal folk tales.

Sorom said the museum tries to find ways to make the event enjoyable for children and adults.

Musical performances are scheduled to take place throughout the celebration as well, with Joe Manis, a northwest jazz musician, kicking off the night with his tenor saxophone in the MNCH galleria. Later on, Eugene Taiko, a popular local Japanese drumming ensemble, will play its unique rhythm using multiple drums. 

We  “always try to incorporate music into the event,” said Sorom.

The event is free with a donation of three nonperishable food items to FOOD for Lane County. Following the event will be the museum’s free Open House Weekend from 11 am to 5 pm Dec. 17-18. — Ted Shorack

 



Groups Endorse Occupy Eugene

Several community organizations have come out in support of Occupy Eugene and will be represented at the City Council meeting Dec. 12 when councilors decide whether or not to extend the OE camping permit.

Among the groups publicly endorsing OE is We the People-Eugene, a grassroots organization intent on abolishing the Supreme Court’s “corporate personhood” decision, aka Citizens United. 

“If the U.S. wasn’t in such dire straits, economically, socially and politically, the Occupy movement would probably have never happened,” reads a statement from We the People. “Consequently, the city of Eugene would not have to decide whether to extend its compassion in the form of allowing a large group of committed activists to spend the winter camping in the mud.”

The statement goes on to say that in OE’s “inclusive and often rocky endeavor to live the democratic process, they have begun to recreate the United States of America, literally from the ground up.”

Eugene Friends Meeting has also released a public statement that says, in part, “We support Occupy Eugene and other current nonviolent protests and actions seeking justice, equitable ways of organization and communication.  We support OE in continuing to peaceably assemble at Washington-Jefferson Park and encourage the City Council to continue the exemption to the ‘no-camping’ ordinance.”

 



Awards to Local Latino Farmers

Eugene’s Latino community has been farming its way to national acclaim. Huerto de la Familia, a local nonprofit, received a $132,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust. Furthermore, Heifer International selected a business founded by Huerto, the Small Farmers Project, to receive its prestigious Golden Talent Award.

Executive Director Sarah Cantril founded Huerto de la Familia (“Family Garden” in Spanish) in 1999. She says she is thrilled to have received such a “hugely competitive” grant. Huerto has offered the local Latino community instruction in organic gardening for the last 12 years. Currently, Huerto works with 51 families in three different locations in the Eugene area. With the grant money, Cantril plans to expand the scope of the group’s current project and to initiate a micro-development program that teaches Spanish-speaking families the skills they need to independently capitalize on agricultural business ideas. “We see what we do as social justice,” Cantril says.

The Small Farmers Project (SFP), an independent business, grew out of a partnership with Huerto in 2008. Based in Santa Clara, SFP is a farm that cultivates organic strawberries and raspberries. Five families work for the organization — they market their  produce and preserves to local farmers’ markets and businesses. SFP was the only project in the U.S. to receive a Golden Talent Award in 2011. This honor is given to an organization that has successfully converted minimal resources into a sustaining source of income while also positively impacting the community. Speaking in Spanish, SFP’s President Margarito Palacios says that he dreams to continue “helping more people succeed in agriculture … that way we can change the world.” 

Cantril is hesitant to speak in detailed terms about her long-term vision for Huerto. With constantly variable funding, she says, “it’s hard not to be in the here and now.” She is excited to implement the micro-development program, however, and is looking forward to hiring a new staff member. Eventually, she aspires to be less dependent on grants and work more on educating Latino youth about organic farming.

Cantril emphasizes that both Huerto and SFP have only gotten as far as they have through an outpouring of local support. “We’re extraordinarily grateful for that,” she says. To get involved, email Cantril at familygarden@efn.org or visit Huerto’s website, huertodelafamilia.org — Caitlin McKimmy

 



Activist Alert

• A proposed community center in Bethel Park is the topic of a public meeting hosted by Eugene Parks and Open Space from 6:30 to 8 pm Thursday, Dec. 8, at Meadow View School. More information at http://wkly.ws/151 or call 682-4915.

Kit Kittredge, an activist member of both CodePink and Veterans for Peace, will speak at 6 pm Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Tykeson room of the Eugene Public Library, sponsored by Al Nakba Awareness Project. Kittredge was aboard the last two Gaza Freedom Flotillas including the recent “Freedom Waves” that was seized by Israel in international waters. She has visited Gaza five times in the past three years with CodePink, working with doctors, farmers and children’s groups, and was in Tahrir Square during the January 2011 Egyptian revolution. She has just returned from Egypt. See www.al-nakba-history.com

• A peaceful “Anarchy = Equality” demonstration is planned for noon to 2 pm Friday, Dec. 9, at the corner of 8th and Oak in Eugene. Later that day at 5 pm will be a free potluck/jamboree at Maitreya Ecovillage near the corner of Broadway and Chambers hosted by the Eugene Mutual Aid Society. At 8 pm will be a showing of Breaking the Spell by Cascadia Forest Defenders. Out-of-town participants can contact Warren Weisman at weiswar@yahoo.com to arrange free accommodations.

• The Eugene Occupy movement will be hosting a silent interfaith meditation/prayer circle from noon to 1 pm Friday, Dec. 9, at the camp. An introduction to the practices of prayer and meditation will be offered at 11:45 am. Participants are asked to bring a chair, cushion or mat, and warm clothing.

Cascadia Wildlands’ ninth annual Wonderland Auction and gourmet dinner catered by Ring of Fire is from 6 to 10 pm Saturday, Dec. 10, at the EMU Ballroom on campus. This is the Eugene-based regional nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Tickets in advance are $30, at the door $35. Kids under 12 free. Tax-deductible donations of items or services are welcomed. See www.cascwild.org or email kate@cascwild.org or call 434-1463.

• A candlelight vigil to demonstrate popular support for the Occupy Eugene campers is scheduled for 5:30 pm Monday, Dec. 12, in the courtyard of Eugene City Hall during the City Council work session. On the council agenda is whether or not to extend the camping permit that expires Dec. 15. Several community groups are organizing to attend, demonstrate or speak during the council’s public input time.

• The Helios Resource Network annual winter party will be from 6 to 10 pm Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 120 W. Broadway in Eugene. Suggested donation at the door is $5-$10. See www.heliosnetwork.org or call 556-8241.

• Members of the Vermont single-payer campaign will speak and take questions at 7 pm Thursday, Dec. 15, at Harris Hall, 8th and Oak. Sponsored by Health Care for All Oregon and Jobs with Justice (see cover story this week). 

 



Biz Beat

Big news this week is that O.U.R. Federal Credit Union in the Whiteaker neighborhood has been purchased by the locally based Northwest Community Credit Union (NWCU). O.U.R. was taken into conservatorship by the National Credit Union Administration last June (see our story at http://wkly.ws/14z), and management was fired. NWCU has purchased most of the assets and liabilities, and is assuring O.U.R. members that there will be no interruption of services. O.U.R. has about $4.9 million in assets and about 2,000 members. NWCU has $700 million in assets, about 70,000 members, 15 branches, and many services that were not provided by O.U.R.

The O.U.R. building, which is owned by NEDCO, will house the new branch for now, according to Matt Purvis of NWCU. Purvis says he expects the new branch will continue at least some of O.U.R.’s member education services, and will add some “horsepower” to small business lending and support. Members will be transitioned to NWCU accounts in January. Call 686-2934 with questions, or visit the Whiteaker branch in person.

Inn at the 5th, Eugene’s $12 million, 68-unit boutique hotel at Fifth Street Public Market, is now expected to open in mid-January, according to Heidi Albertson, director of sales. Earlier projections by owner Brian Obie had the hotel opening last summer, then in time for football season, and then in December. Once it opens, the hotel is expected to give a big boost to Fifth Street Market businesses and other enterprises nearby. The website is www.innat5th.com and the hotel is now taking reservations.

The Wild Duck Café opened Dec. 6 at 1419 Villard St., just east of Matt Court, offering a Northwest-inspired American bistro menu and a full bar. Current hours are 11:30 am to 1 am daily and breakfast hours are expected to be added in January. Owner Bob Jensen says his old Wild Duck Brewery, Restaurant and Music Hall downtown closed in 2004, but he’s “kept the duck alive” with Wild Duck Catering and Big Green Events. Email bob@biggreenevents.com

Valley Vintner & Brewer has changed its name after 10 years to Falling Sky Brewing, a reference to Oregon’s infamous rainy weather, and will be opening a new downtown Eugene Brew House in mid-January. The new pub, inspired by London neighborhood pubs, will be an expansion into the 3,000 sq. ft. adjacent space on Oak Alley behind the brew store at 30 E. 13th Ave. See www.fallingskybrewing.com or call Robert Cohen at 520-8012.

Blue Dog Mead has begun production of its honey-based brew at 254 Lincoln St. in Eugene. Owners are Simon Blatz, Chase Drum and Simon Spencer, all UO students. A tasting room may open soon. Meanwhile, the beverage is available at Sundance and at Dairy Mart at 24th and Hilyard, and is being served at Max’s Tavern, Rennie’s Landing and 16 Tons. See www.bluedogmead.com

Send suggestions for Biz Beat items to editor@eugeneweekly.com with “Biz Beat” in the subject line.

 



WAR DEAD  

In Afghanistan

•  1,836 U.S. troops killed* (1,833)

• 14,969 U.S. troops wounded in action (14,837)

• 981 U.S. contractors killed (981)

• $481.7 billion cost of war ($479.3 billion)

• $142.2 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($141.5 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)

• 1,554 U.S. contractors killed (1,554)

• 113,380 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (113,380)

• $805.8 billion cost of war ($804.9 billion) 

• $237.9 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($237.7 million)

Through Dec, 5, 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

Message from the State Board of Higher Education: Go Ducks! President Lariviere won’t be going with you because he made a paper hat out of the organization chart.

 

 

 

 

 

SLANT

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

 

 

 

 

SUSANE REIS

“I started piano lessons when I was 5,” says Susane Reis, who grew up in Turlock, Calif., the daughter of Portuguese immigrants from the Azores. “My interest in creating my own sounds was not nurtured by piano teachers.” Still, she stayed with lessons through high school, began taking on students of her own at 18, and changed her major at California State University at Stanislaus from business to piano performance. “I had 35 students by the time I graduated,” says Reis, who entered the UO’s piano pedagogy program three months later, in the fall of 2009. “A lot of piano students aim to be professors. My goal is to teach children and beginners and make it enjoyable.” On July 26 this year, a month after graduation, she opened the Eugene Piano Academy at 507 Willamette St. “I found this place last April,” she says. “I bought electric keyboards on Craigslist and found a 1945 Steinway grand piano. I learned about business from a small business for dummies’ book.” Reis bases her group lessons on the Harmony Road Music Course developed by her mentor, Jan Keyser of Clackamas. “Kids are encouraged to write their own music, as well as become readers and performers,” she says. Registration for winter term classes ends Jan. 9. Learn more at eugenepianoacademy.com