Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Big Bucks for Mayor
Pro-sprawl interests invest heavily in Torrey
A local look a the Democratic campaigns
Happening Person: Brooke Parrott
ANIMAL SERVICES TO CLOSE?
Packs of dogs roaming the streets, stray cats breeding and fighting, neighbors getting in fights over their pets and people finally “taking matters into their own hands.” These are some of the scenarios Lane County Budget Committee member Scott Bartlett fears could happen if Lane County Animal Services (LCAS) is shut down under the county’s current doomsday budget, leaving no one responsible for Lane County’s stray pets. “What will happen to all the animals?” Bartlett asks.
Once again, Lane County’s budget is threatened unless Secure Rural Schools (SRS) is renewed by Congress in the next legislative session. Under the county’s proposed “doomsday” budget, there is a large human cost with a reduction in funding for nutrition and health programs for Women, Infants and Children, reduction in the supervision of domestic violence and sex offenders and a loss in aid to developmentally disabled children and adults, to name few.
And according to the county budget message, only one “highly visible” agency is scheduled to be “discontinued” entirely, and that is LCAS. The Lane County Extension is also scheduled to lose all county funding, but is expected to “reduce its scope” and not disappear entirely.
In the case of the agency that is responsible for Lane County’s dogs, cats, horses and other critters in need, the plan is to shut the service down. And it appears from a county board order that even if SRS funding does come through, the county could use the funding to pay down “structural debt” rather than restore animal services.
According to a recent email from Jennifer Inman, senior management analyst for Lane County, the proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 gives LCAS “minimal funds for the maintenance of the facility, but complete closure of all services, ending of all contracts, layoff of all personnel — enforcement and kennel.”
The layoffs are actually scheduled to begin on May 29, with layoff letters already going out to the animal agency’s staff. But once the staff is gone, what will happen to the 50 or so cats and 40 or so dogs languishing at LCAS waiting for homes? It’s a little unclear.
In response to questions from LCAS volunteers and other animal lovers, the assistant director for Health and Human Services, the agency that supervises LCAS, wrote: “We have developed a contingency plan in the event that services close on 5/29, designed to save as many adoptable animals as possible.” The exact nature of that plan has not been announced.
Some longtime critics of LCAS say that maybe losing the agency wouldn’t be so bad. They hope that private citizens could fund a “no-kill” shelter of their own. The budget message too appeals to private funding. County Administrator Jeff Spartz writes: “Other public resources may be identified or, hopefully, private funds may step in to help with the funding gap.”
But Bartlett says, “There’s been so much work to modernize LCAS and make it open to volunteers and move to no-kill.” He pointed to the commissioners’ “Save Adoptable Animals” proposal last year that has been moving the county to a no-kill goal, and the hiring of a volunteer coordinator that has improved fostering, off-site adoptions and using volunteers as a resource for the agency. “Over the last five years, things have gotten a lot better,” Bartlett says. “The frustrating thing is this could all be for naught.”
“Even one animal dying needlessly is an outrage and moral disgrace,” says the longtime animal advocate.
There’s several chances to give feedback on the Lane County budget coming up. There’s a public hearing about the budget planned from 7:30 to 9 pm on Tuesday, April 29; and on May 6 there will be a budget work session focusing on social services, including animal services, with a public comment period from 8 to 9 pm. Both meetings will be in Harris Hall in the courthouse building at 125 East 8th Ave.
The county budget is also the topic of a Brewhaha public forum at 7 pm Wednesday, April 30 at Davis’ Restaurant on West Broadway. — Camilla Mortensen
It’s been a month since the last public meeting of the West Eugene Collaborative (WEC), and the next meeting is from 2 to 6 pm Tuesday, April 29, at the Eugene Fire Station at 13th and Willamette. Committee work has continued weekly since the last two days of group meetings held in mid-March.
The WEC, facilitated by the Osprey Group of professional mediators, formed last year following the City Council vote to kill the highly controversial West Eugene Parkway. The mission of the group is to “develop an integrated land use and transportation solution supported by stakeholders that will facilitate movement of people and commerce from/through/to west Eugene and west of Eugene while enhancing community, business and the environment.”
The March meetings were attended by about 30 people and generated at least two reports that can be read online at several websites (including wiki.eugeneneighbors.org and odrc.state.or.us). Consolidated ideas from the “Design Storming” session are represented in a graphic map of the West 11th Avenue area.
One of the sub-groups holding weekly meetings is WEC’s Land Use and Transportation Committee (LUT). Members of the LUT reported that their committee has “morphed into trying to keep everybody on board” and has spent time talking about “public involvement and how to properly engage the community.”
“Building credibility with the public is very important,” reports the LUT. “There is currently a good deal of skepticism about these processes, especially in this community. … Neighborhood groups are important and the group needs to try really hard to listen to them.”
Adopting a “public engagement strategy” is on the agenda for the April 29 general meeting, says WEC member Rob Zako.
Notes from the “Design Storming” session indicate the WEC has been wrestling with many issues, including: protection of wetlands, creating a “carbon-neutral” west Eugene, connecting with future (light rail) and existing public transportation modes, limiting access to West 11th., enhancing West 18th, recognizing future growth, managing transportation demand, the need for open space and “more elegant land use correlation,” reducing single-occupant vehicle trips, coordinating transportation with the Roosevelt/Trainsong Bethel areas and creating bicycle and pedestrian connectivity.
The design session also looked at amending development codes, limiting development west of Beltline, using vacant lots, considerations for existing residential areas, mixed-use and nodal development, connecting with the Mayor’s Sustainable Business Initiative, stormwater treatment, the role of land owners, putting buses on rail tracks to Florence, addressing all transportation between I-5 and the Oregon Coast, the impact of housing growth in the Veneta area and several dozen other issues. — Ted Taylor
DEVELOPER DOLLARS TARGET ORTIZ
Ward 7 City Councilor Andrea Ortiz, often a key progressive swing vote, faces a re-election fight with a candidate backed by thousands of dollars from developer interests.
Business consultant John Crane has reported raising $5,100 through April 27. Ortiz reported raising $3,924, mostly in smaller contributions. Ward 7 stretches from the Whiteaker neighborhood north to include parts of the River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods.
Land speculator, construction and sand and gravel magnate Avon Lee Babb gave Crane $2,500. The state’s largest developer PAC, Oregonians for Affordable Housing, gave Crane $1,000. Roxie Cuellar, a lobbyist with the local homebuilders developer group gave an in-kind contribution of $300.
In a recent statement to a neighborhood group, Crane criticized Ortiz for siding with progressive south Eugene councilors in close votes.
Ortiz, who works as an ER nurse, wrote in her statement that her goals include livability, environmentally sound practices, transparent government and community health and safety. Her largest contributions are $500 from real estate broker John Brown and $500 from the Eugene Firefighters PAC. Ortiz also received a $200 contribution from the local Democratic party. — Alan Pittman
• An evening with Kitty Piercy with food, wine and music is planned by her re-election committee for 6:30 pm Friday, April 25, at Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org A large crowd is anticipated, so the folks at Tsunami are suggesting people bus, walk, bike or look for parking a block or three away.
• The third in a series of four free public events focusing on downtown revitalization is planned for noon to 5 pm Saturday, April 26, at the Tango Center, 194 W. Broadway. Projects initiated by working groups formed at earlier meetings and by other citizen will be displayed and discussed in a fun atmosphere with food, entertainment and tours. The event is organized by Citizens for Public Accountability. The fourth and final gathering in the series will be at 7 pm Tuesday, April 29, at the WOW Hall. Visit www.downtowneugene.comor call (541) 346-1328 for more information.
• The Oregon State Board of Forestry will be holding a regular meeting April 29-30 at the Village Green, 725 Row River Rd. in Cottage Grove. Public comments will be heard beginning at 8 am. Agenda items include sustainable management 2009-11, and developing policies to ensure sustainable forests, 2009 legislative concepts. More info at http://orgon.gov/ODF/Board.
• Local Oregon WAND members are organizing a “house party” for Rob Handy from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, May 1, at his campaign headquarters at 6th and Lawrence. RSVP to 484-9595.
• The LCC Budget Committee continues its annual meetings that began April 9. The next will be 5:30 pm Wednesday, May 7; followed by 5 pm Wednesday, May 14. The LCC Board of Education makes final budget decisions and will hold the annual budget hearing at about 6:30 pm Wednesday, June 11. All meetings are held in Building 3, room 216, at LCC.
• Brewhaha this month focuses on the Lane County budget and includes candidates for the County Commission. “Get On the Budget” begins at 7 pm Wednesday, April 30, at Davis’ Restaurant, 94 W. Broadway. The event is sponsored by the Bus Project and Eugene Weekly. Dress as your favorite budget line item.
• Attorney general candidate John Kroger is expected to appear from 5 pm to 7 pm Wednesday, April 30, at Tsunami, and a public debate between Kroger and Greg Macpherson is planned for 5 pm Tuesday, May 6, at the UO School of Law, room 175. The debate is cosponsored by the Law Offices of Lauren Regan and the Democratic Party of Lane County. Regan says a few issues that the AG will deal with while in office include “crimes and punishment, consumer complaints, environmental protection, workers compensation, same sex marriage and assisted suicide, to name only a few that may affect your everyday life.”
• Submissions for workshop proposals are being accepted through April 25 for a four-day conference on “Nonviolence as a Way of Life” at the UO, Sept. 11-14. The conference is being organized by The Coalition for Nonviolent Living, a consortium of groups and individuals dedicated to creating lasting peace and social change through nonviolent means. Confirmed keynote presenters so far include Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D., and C.T. Vivian. See nonviolentliving.org for further details or call 343-2734.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began onMarch 20, 2003(last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,039 U.S. troops killed*(4,035)
• 29,320 U.S. troops injured* (29,320)
• 145 U.S. militarysuicides*(145)
• 309 coalition troops killed** (309)
• 1,123 contractors killed(accurate updates NA)
• 90,521 to one million Iraqi civilians killed*** (90,304)
• $513.1 billion cost of war ($511.1 billion)
• $145.9 million cost toEugene taxpayers($145.3 million)
* through April 21, 2008; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** estimate; source: icasualties.org
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 to one million.
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• ODOT: The approximate schedule of nighttime spraying is: April 21-24 for Cloverdale, Hwy. 99 South, 126 West to Austa, and Territorial Highway; April 28-May 1 for Hwy. 126 West (Austa to Florence), Hwy. 36, and Hwy. 101, all within Lane County . Call (888) 996-8080 or Dennis Joll, IVM coordinator at 686-7526.
• 2007 herbicide spray acreage: totals for Oregon Department of Forestry notifications in Lane County: 80,162; Weyerhaeuser: 38,939. 2008 spray acreage: January and February totals: 28,647.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org
• You might notice the thickness and heft of this issue of Eugene Weekly. Thanks to a big CHOW! insert, we’re publishing our biggest paper ever this week. And it’s happening right in the middle of gloomy economic news and the shrinking of mainstream newspapers everywhere. We’re also printing a record number of papers, 41,000 at last count, and most papers get passed around to an average of two or three readers. Our website, interactive blogs and new Wink & Kink personals are also exploding with thousands of new visitors in recent weeks. Our total reach has grown to well beyond 120,000 people.
Thank you all: Readers and advertisers, letter writers and news sources, artists of every sort, grumpy critics and effusive lovers. Together we are all are driving this marvelous collaboration called Eugene Weekly. Let’s keep it going for years to come!
• Back when he was mayor, Jim Torrey once said he needed to raise a lot of money for his elections because of Eugene Weekly‘s biased coverage. That’s a real skull-scratcher. Is EW contributing to campaign finance escalation? More likely, Torrey has to raise lots of bucks for out-of-state consultants and expensive TV ads because he lacks grassroots support. Now Kitty Piercy finds herself far behind Torrey in fundraising in the critical May primary. If a candidate gets 50-plus percent of the primary vote, he or she will run unopposed in November.
So what can we Piercy backers do (yep, that’s an official, early endorsement)? If you have a few bucks to spare, go to kittypiercy.com and make a contribution by credit card, or mail a check to Kitty Piercy for Mayor, PO Box 2953, Eugene 97402 (include your occupation, employer and employer’s address).
If you’re broke or don’t have a credit card, you can still support Piercy by putting out a lawn sign and doing your own get-out-the-vote campaign among family, friends and neighbors.
Meanwhile, Torrey is publicly calling for more spending on potholes and cops, but he’s dodging questions about how to pay for these expensive city services. To be taken seriously by anyone other than ideologues, Torrey needs to come up with plans that make sense.
• Speaking of potholes, The Register-Guard declared without evidence this week that potholes are the top issue in the mayor’s race. Baloney. City surveys have shown over and over again that citizens view school funding, parks, environmental protection, social services and other issues as far more important than asphalt. Last year a gas tax for potholes failed by a wide margin. Last year a survey showed that a property tax for potholes would similarly fail. Conservatives love to jump up and down about potholes damaging their SUVs, but it’s evident most Eugeneans have higher priorities.
• McKenzie-Willamette and city staff need to get off their golf-course vision for a hospital. Demands for a huge site so that a sprawling-suburban style design can be surrounded by acres and acres of surface parking lots served by freeway exits won’t serve the community or the hospital company and just aren’t realistic. Look at the mess, delay and cost this vision wrought at the Delta Highway site. With all the vacant parking lots, pits and vacant buildings downtown, there’s plenty of room for a sensible, multistory hospital with structured parking and easy bus, bike and pedestrian access.
• On the Eugene City Council, the conservatives most critical of losing PeaceHealth to Springfield are those most opposed to efforts to locate McKenzie-Willamette in south Eugene. The conservatives most supportive of the unpopular, huge urban renewal subsidies for mega-developer KWG downtown are the councilors most opposed to far more modest and popular subsidies for Beam downtown. Of course, this makes total logical sense. If the progressive majority in Eugene wants it, whatever it is, they are opposed to it. If it’s unpopular, they are all for it.
• How do we integrate more arts into our urban scene? Artist Jerry Ross tells us he’s been talking to Kitty Piercy about his proposals for a downtown city art museum/gallery, scenic vista points around the city with platforms designated for landscape painters, and subsidized living/studio spaces downtown for artists. He says the mayor is open to his ideas. And judging by the public input into the April “Downtown Together” forums organized by CPA, Ross is not alone in wanting to revitalize downtown through arts and housing for artists. If we can provide an attractive living and working neighborhood for painters, sculptors, writers and performing artists, we can create our own vibrant little Paris Left Bank or Greenwich Village. City support for creating affordable downtown housing can help. Ross can be contacted at email@example.com and the topic will be discussed at the CPA forum Saturday afternoon (see Activist Alert this page).
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
“I started piano lessons when I was 6,” says Eugene native Brooke Parrott, seated at the keyboard in her parents’ home. “I’ve studied piano ever since.” Parrott began writing songs as a middle-schooler, when she had a band with friends. After graduation from South Eugene High School and a year at the UO, she worked and played music in Seattle for two years. “I wrote a lot of songs,” she says. “I got a scholarship to Berklee.” In two-and-a-half years in Boston, she finished a degree in songwriting and piano. “The first semester, I started a group to play my original music,” she says. In her second semester, Parrott launched the organization Student Musicians Against AIDS. “We did a lot of fundraisers,” she relates. “I taught myself. It was a good experience.” Back in Eugene since June, Parrott has been working to complete her debut album, Another City, recorded in Boston last spring. At 7 pm May 9, she will play “bluesy Americana” songs from the CD in a release concert at Cozmic Pizza. A wine raffle will benefit LifeLovers, an AIDS education program for children in Ghana.