News Briefs: Pesticide Whistle-Blower Threatened by Weyerhaeuser | Plant Fair Supports Master Gardeners | Bozievich Denies Benefit Position | Bold Steps is Back | Will Field Burning Flare Up? | EW to Share Lane County Legal Ads | Community Tackles Patriarchy | Commute Challenge May 14-21 | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
PESTICIDE WHISTLE-BLOWER THREATENED BY WEYERHAEUSER
One week Justin Workman had his name in the paper revealing that he had videotaped Weyerhaeuser spraying pesticides over forestlands and, he alleges, into salmon-bearing streams. The next week he had sheriff’s deputies knocking at his door responding to a complaint from Weyerhaeuser.
Workman is a member of the anti-pesticide group the Pitchfork Rebellion and does water monitoring for the Siuslaw Watershed Council. The R-G did a story April 21 on the Pitchfork Rebellion’s meeting with Environmental Protection Agency officials, and it discussed Workman’s video of the helicopters that appeared to be spraying pesticides over streams and in windy and rainy conditions, which is forbidden under state law.
One week later, on April 29, Workman says he encountered a Weyerhaeuser logging operation while driving through the Coast Range forest with his children near his house. He says the operation was not posted, and he did not leave the road. It was a public road, according to Workman. Roadways on private forestlands are sometimes privately owned and sometimes public. Workman videotaped the encounter.
After returning to his house, Workman says that two Lane County Sheriff’s deputies, who were called out on a trespassing complaint by Weyerhaeuser, approached him.
Workman says the encounter felt like strong-arm tactics on the part of the timber company. He says the deputies told him that Weyerhaeuser didn’t “want you arrested this time, but if this ever happens again, we’re going to swoop in and arrest you.”
Workman says, “The whole thing was fishy and scary,” and says he and his family are recognizable because of the work he does to protect the watershed and document alleged violations by Weyerhaeuser and other logging operations.
According to Lt. Dennis Ewing, Lane County has four sheriffs who deal with forestland issues. One is contracted out to the BLM, and three others are federal forest deputies who respond to complaints involving federal lands. All four deputies report to the same sergeant. Two of these sheriffs responded to Weyerhaeuser’s complaint.
Ewing says in a case like this “Weyerhaeuser is not unlike a private citizen calling and saying, ‘We’ve got a trespass. Can you respond?’”
Day Owen of the Pitchfork Rebellion says he objects to Weyerhaeuser being able to “intimidate political opponents on very shaky grounds.”
The Pitchfork Rebellion has a petition with the EPA calling for the EPA to conduct research on pesticide drift and to establish one-mile buffers around homes and schools. Public comments will be taken until June 28. For more information go to http://wkly.ws/jf — Camilla Mortensen
PLANT FAIR SUPPORTS MASTER GARDENERS
The Oregon Plant Fair 2010 is from 9 am to 3 pm Saturday, May 8, at Alton Baker Park, sponsored by the Avid Gardeners Club and the Willamette District Garden Clubs. The proceeds from this year’s celebration will benefit the Lane County Master Gardeners, a program that is threatened by cutbacks at Lane County’s OSU Extension Service office. Funding for the Extension Service is on the ballot May 18.
“For decades, the Master Gardeners have been the experts that have helped gardeners grow and process their own vegetables, or troubleshoot everyday problems with soil, insects and the whole gamut called ‘gardening,’” says Alice Doyle of Log House Plants in Cottage Grove. “Now it’s time for us all to lend them a hand.”
The theme of the Oregon Plant Fair 2010 is “Grow Your Own Groceries.” The Master Gardeners will be dispensing their expert advice at the Plant Fair again, giving tips about growing vegetables.
This year’s fair will feature more than 20 nurseries and artists from Oregon and Washington, including three new plant vendors. In addition to vegetable starts, they will offer a variety of rare and unusual ornamental shrubs, trees, annuals and native plants. A wide range of garden art will also be on display.
For more information call 554-6564 or visit www.avidgardeners.org
Bozievich Denies Benefit Position
West Lane County commissioner candidate Jay Bozievich denies that he’s taken a position to cut county workers’ health care and retirement benefits as reported in a Eugene Weekly story last week.
The article, based on public statements and an EW interview with Bozievich, read: “To help balance the budget, Bozievich said he’d like to cut county workers’ health care and retirement benefits that he says are too generous.”
Bozievich wrote in an email to EW that the position attributed to him was “completely fabricated.” He wrote, “I never said anything close to it.”
Bozievich wrote that he would refuse future interviews with EW. Asked in an email to clarify exactly what is his position on controlling health care and retirement costs, Bozievich refused.
“No, I will not clarify my position,” he wrote.
Besides the EW interview, Bozievich is on record several times supporting restrictions on health and retirement benefits for public employees. Here are some examples:
• In an interview this year for Community Access TV with David Igl, Bozievich said, “Whether it’s PERS or health care or some other cost to the county, we need to get those under control.” (http://bit.ly/bwmDLq)
• In a 2006 post on the Oregoncatalyst.com website, Bozievich wrote about “whopping” increases in PERS costs and “double digit” increases in health care costs for Lane County employees. He wrote, “To restore balance we need true reform of the PERS programs. Health insurance should return to a system that encourages healthy choices while covering catastrophic care.” (http://bit.ly/aTfbas)
• Last year, Bozievich responded to a commenter on Oregoncatalyst.com who questioned whether his support for cutting labor costs while on the LCC board was “tepid.” Bozievich said LCC has “done what I would advocate all of Oregon government do” by negotiating contracts with unions to reduce labor cost increases. He wrote: “Unfortunately, my position on the labor contracts is mostly expressed behind the curtain of executive sessions or in private meetings with the president, but I can tell you that I was public enemy #1 of the unions.” (http://bit.ly/ad9jgt) — Alan Pittman
BOLD STEPS IS BACK
Mayor Kitty Piercy’s Bold Steps program is back, honoring Eugene businesses that make decisions based on sustainability. The program began in 2007, ran through 2008, took a hiatus and is now back in 2010.
SeQuential Biofuels is the most recent recipient of the Bold Steps Sustainability Award. Piercy presented the award at the opening of the Earth Day Celebration at EWEB Plaza April 24.
The program recognizes businesses that manage the “triple bottom line”: taking extra care in how they treat people and the planet, while supporting economic prosperity. The program is a collaborative effort between a number of community volunteers, Cumulus Media Inc., and the mayor.
SeQuential pays its workers above average industry wages, provides health and dental insurance and has profit sharing and bonus plans. The company acquired all the building material for its Eugene station within a 50-mile radius and uses 100 percent EWEB wind power to cover what its solar array doesn’t provide. The station building has a 2,000 sq. ft. grass roof.
SeQuential gets all the biofuels sold at its Eugene station from within Oregon. “More than 80 percent of that biofuel is from used cooking oil, and the remainder is from non-GMO canola grown in rotation cycles with food crops,” according to the mayor’s office.
Leslie Scott chairs the award committee and says, “We look forward to receiving many more applicants now that the award program is under way again. The Bold Steps award provides our community with great educational opportunities, as well as the chance to showcase Eugene as a leader in the sustainability movement nationwide.”
WILL FIELD BURNING FLARE UP?
Just when you think the field burning issue has died down, it reignites. In 2009 when Oregon’s Legislature passed SB 528, it resulted in the biggest phase-down in field burning since 1998. But anti-burn advocates are wondering if, once again, the grass seed industry will find a way to increase the choking smoke in the Willamette Valley.
The Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Agriculture held a public comment process on revisions to the current administrative rules that regulate field burning in the Willamette Valley that is done by grass seed farmers to rid their fields of pests. Lane County residents expressed concern in their comments that the proposed rules don’t hold to Legislature’s intent to protect public health.
“The real big issue is that they rewrote them as if SB 528 were a minor tweak,” says attorney Charlie Tebbutt. “If you look at their policies, the purpose of the regulations is to provide for a maximum level of burning with a minimal impact on the public.”
The intent of the 2009 legislation, Tebbutt says, requires a redesign of the regulations that puts precedence not on burning but on protecting public health.
The legislation allows for emergency burning if “extreme hardship due to insect infestation or disease outweighs the danger to public health and safety.” But Dan Galpern of the Western Environmental Law Center says that under the proposed rules there will be a lot more burning a the Legislature intended in the category of emergency burning, and more burning than is acceptable for public health.
A scorecard released last week by the American Lung Association gave Lane County an “F” for short-term particle pollution. Field burning is one of the sources for this PM 2.5 pollution. PM 2.5 or what’s called fine particulate pollution is linked to irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing and is particularly harmful to the elderly, children and adults with asthma, and those with emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
“DEQ and EQC (Environmental Quality Commission) are charged with protecting the public health,” Galpern says, “and should be producing rules that err, if at all, on the side of protecting the public.”
The DEQ must now prepare a response to the public comments that were filed and there is the possibility they will modify the rules in response to the comments. The final proposed rulemaking is expected to be presented to the EQC for adoption in August 2010, according to the DEQ’s website, http://wkly.ws/jd — Camilla Mortensen
EW TO SHARE LANE COUNTY LEGAL ADS
Eugene Weekly is now officially designated a “newspaper of record” and qualified to run specific kinds of Lane County legal ads that were previously only published in The Register-Guard. The designation follows a vote by the Lane County Board of Commissioners April 28.
“Under Oregon statutes we have been entitled to run legal ads for many years,” says EW Director of Sales & Marketing Bill Shreve, “but each year the County Commission is required to designate which newspaper or newspapers will run specific kinds of county legal ads.” Shreve says the decision will save taxpayers money since EW classified ad rates are “significantly less expensive.”
Under the decision by the commissioners last week, EW will now publish monthly notices of expenditures and personal property tax warrants. The R-G will continue to publish notices of real property tax foreclosure proceedings.
Lane County spent a total of $232,000 on all advertising in fiscal year 2009, including legal ads, job postings, pet adoptions, bid announcements and other ads, according to an analysis by the county administrator’s office. About $143,000 was spent on newspaper advertising alone. Of that amount, the R-G and Guard Publishing were paid $114,174 and EW was paid $1,042.
COMMUNITY TACKLES PATRIARCHY
Are gender roles oppressive? Generating dialogue about this idea is UO’s Beyond Patriarchy Conference, which aims to not only support those who are disenfranchised by the male-dominated character of our society, but to dismantle it entirely.
“We are bombarded every day with patriarchal social norms and politics,” said UO Survival Center spokesperson Mariah Thompson (see Viewpoint this week). Such values can lead to oppression, violence, racism, homophobia and a “wealth of other forms of disrespect and hurtful action.”
The Beyond Patriarchy Conference May 14-16 at the Erb Memorial Union, originally began within the anarchist community as a response to sexism and rape apologism — the idea that the victim is at fault for provoking the rapist. Today, it provides a forum for open discussion about social norms seen as oppressive through a feminist and radical perspective.
Keynote speaker and transsexual activist Tobi Hill-Meyer expressed hope that attendees would find comfort within a forum where they can be heard and understood: “I want it to be a space where people feel that they can come and talk about significant issues of oppression in their lives.”
The conference is organized by a variety of community members, including university alumni, LCC students and local activists. Musical performances include a power-pop group called play/start and hip-hop artist Mic Crenshaw. Housing, childcare and rideshares are available to those in need.
“By holding a conference that can address these issues, we can fight back against these oppressions and work for a more positive future,” said Thompson. “We want people to leave feeling excited, nourished, joyful and proud to be working for something equitable.” — Deborah Bloom
COMMUTE CHALLENGE MAY 14-21
The 2010 Eugene-Springfield Business Commute Challenge is a fun opportunity for area employees to rethink the daily work commute and drive less. The challenge will take place May 15-21 and offers a full work-week of friendly competition between businesses and individuals. Prizes will be awarded.
Last year’s challenge had 1,173 participants from 85 businesses in the local area. In one week, the combined participants reduced single-person car travel by 45,976 miles. The goal of this year’s challenge is to double the 2009 results.
To learn more and sign up, visit http://commutechallenge.org or find the challenge page on Facebook.
• Lane County Budget Committee meetings have begun and are open to the public. The next work session is from 5:15 to 8 pm Thursday, May 6, in Harris Hall, 125 E. Eighth Ave. This session will focus on Children and Families, Assessment and Taxation, Lane Events Center, District Attorney’s Office, and Public Works. The next meeting, at the same time and place, will be Tuesday, May 11, and the session includes Youth Services, Support Service overview, and Information Services.
• Bowling for Abortions is a fundraising event by the Network for Reproductive Options from 7 to 10 pm Thursday, May 6, at Southtowne Lanes on Willamette Street. The group helps low-income women cover the cost of abortions. “We’re taking a critical need — funding for abortions — and involving the community in a positive, fun, sometimes outrageous, way,” says Kate Weck, an Abortion Fund board member. More information at http://tinyurl.com/eugenebowl
• Sign waving for the Jerry Rust campaign for Lane County commission will begin at 4:30 pm Friday, May 7, in the Santa Clara area north of Beltline, out West 11th near Target, and at 18th and Bailey Hill. Signs will be provided. Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
• The Fifth Annual Fern Ridge Wings & Wine Festival Saturday, May 8, catering to bird watchers, nature enthusiasts and wine lovers. Activities will be held starting at 7 am and throughout the day at the new Domaine Meriwether Winery west of Veneta and at nearby Fern Ridge Reservoir, one of Oregon’s best birding areas. Many activities are free, while some require pre-registration and a fee. See www.wingsandwinefestival.com
• The third annual National Train Day will be celebrated from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday, May 8, at the Eugene Amtrak depot. The festivities include exhibits, information regarding train travel and train history, and book signings by railroad author and photographer Jesse Burkhardt.
• Ralph Nader will speak at 8 pm Saturday, May 8, at the First Unitarian Church, 1211 SW Main St., in Portland. Doors will open and book signing will be at 7:30. His talk will be on “Obama So Far … A New Strategy for Progressives,” and he will discuss his book Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
• A benefit dinner and auction for Tibet earthquake relief will be from 5:45 to 8 pm Sunday, May 9, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 166 E. 13th Ave., in Eugene. An authentic Tibetan dinner will be served. A silent auction is planned, along with a slide show of the April 14 earthquake devastation. Adults $20, kids 10 and under free. Sponsored by the Eugene Tibetan Benefit Association.
• The 11th Annual Million Mom March will be held at 2:30 pm Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, at EWEB Plaza, featuring music, speakers and honoring of women leaders from our community. The event celebrates efforts to protect children from gun violence. Following the rally will be a 3 pm march led by bagpiper Wylie McKinnon to the Owen Rose Garden for music, picnics and pie. Contact Betsy Steffensen, 344 9343.
• A public comment period on nine annual operations plans for state-owned forests managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry began March 29, and written comments will be accepted until 5 pm May 12. These plans identify and describe activities such as timber sales, reforestation, stream enhancement and recreation projects on Oregon’s state-managed forests. More information on the operating plans and how to comment can be obtained at ODF offices. The West Lane office is in Veneta at 87950 Territorial Hwy., (541) 935-2283 or visit http://egov.oregon.gov/ODF
• A statewide public hearing about Oregon’s Department of Human Services priorities and budget will be at 1 pm Wednesday, May 12, at LCC’s Center for Meeting and Learning. For carpooling from the MindFreedom office, contact email@example.com Written input to the DHS can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
• A “Fashioning Resistance to Militarism Fashion Show” is planned for 7 pm Thursday, May 13, at Agate Hall on campus. Submit designs to Gwyn Kirk at email@example.com and outfits-in-progress can be brought to a trial run from noon to 5 pm Sunday, April 9, at the Fir Room, EMU on campus. See examples on the event’s Facebook page, http://wkly.ws/jc
• 4,398 U.S. troops killed* (4,397)
• 31,790 U.S. troops injured** (31,788)
• 185 U.S. military suicides* (updates NA)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (updates NA)
• 104,754 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (104,682)
• $720.7 billion cost of war
• $204.9 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($204.6 million)
• 1,045 U.S. troops killed* (1,041)
• 5,677 U.S. troops injured** (5,629)
• $269.2 billion cost of war ($267.8 billion)
• $76.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($76.1 million)
* through May 2, 2010; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** sources: icasualties.org, defenselink.mil
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
• ODOT does not post before, during or after spraying state highways so it is important to regularly check with District 5 at 744-8080 or (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Currently ODOT is spraying at night on Highway 126 E & W(#62), 58, Territorial (#200), 36 (#229), and 101. ODOT is also spraying Gorse and Scotch Broom on the Coast. See forestlanddwellers.org/News/2010-News/ODOT/
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
• It’s primary election time and we urge everyone to fill out those ballots and get them in the mail, or drop them off in one of the white boxes around town, by May 18. Our endorsements for selected candidates and issues are in this issue, and we will repeat them next week. But don’t just take our word. Read the city and state Voters’ Pamphlets and the League of Women Voters Guide, check out the other media in town, see who the Oregon League of Conservation Voters endorses and go to candidates’ websites.
We gotta hand it to David Igl who went to the trouble to corral all 17 Lane County Commission candidates and interview them on camera for Community TV. Check it out at http://wkly.ws.iw
• Ouch! It’s not exactly good for the UO when The New York Times runs a long piece (Saturday, May 1) describing Duck athletics as “a program run amok.” Here in Eugene we already knew that, but writer Billy Witz does raise some unanswered questions Eugeneans have been pondering. Why would Masoli steal a laptop computer from a fraternity house when Phil Knight had supplied 550 specially engraved laptops to the athletic program? Maybe the stuff on that specific laptop was toxic for Masoli? That speculation continues to swirl around our small town. Why were the Bellotti contract negotiations done so “sloppily,” as President Lariviere put it? The Times didn’t mention it, but outgoing president Dave Frohnnmayer is a lawyer, former dean of the UO Law School and former attorney general; and Pat Kilkenny is a highly successful insurance executive. Neither is a stranger to the importance of formal contracts when big money is involved. But the problems run deeper, and, as the NYT concluded, “they raise further questions about the proper balance, in a sleepy pocket in the Northwest, between athletics and academics.”
• Maybe it’s time to turn our attention to the genuine touchstone of Oregon athletics — track and field. Eugene will host the men’s and women’s NCAA Track and Field Championships June 9-12 at Hayward Field, with Oregon men and women both contenders for national titles, though the UO loses points for moving graduation for the event. Travel may not be easy for UO families on a Monday. This month, the famous Oregon Twilight Meet opens at 5 pm Saturday, May 8. It’s guaranteed that the crowds will be smart, civil, and supportive of the slowest finisher. That’s better national publicity for an educational institution.
• Envision Eugene began its open public meetings process this week as we went to press, and maybe some clarity will come of it. But only if people ask the right questions. Planning for growth is a complex and contentious topic, and even the experts disagree over goals, methods and tactics. It’s not an exact science, due in part to the many variables.
Looking ahead 10 to 20 years, a dramatic jump in fuel costs could make our suburbs unattractive. Or breakthroughs in transportation technologies could make commuting easy. If the local economy crashes, as it did in the 1980s, Eugene could actually lose population. If the economy booms or “climate refugees” from the Southwest descend upon us, our population growth could far exceed projections. Eugene has an abundance of clean water, which will become more and more important as businesses, industries and retirees look to relocate in an ever-more thirsty world.
We are fortunate to have several stabilizing factors in our economy. Water is one. Scenery is another. We are also a strong center for education, government and nonprofits. Our small businesses provide Eugene with a stable base of employment; we do not rise and fall with the fortunes of major industries. Our strong neighborhoods build community and stability. And yes, our land use rules help us avoid the roller-coaster economics of overbuilding.
So how do we best approach planning for growth? Rather than cater to land speculators, let’s build on our best assets, support the parts of town that need help and learn from our past mistakes. We can’t bulldoze Valley River Center or the big box stores out West 11th, but we must make planning decisions now that will revive our downtown, better connect downtown with the university, fill our neighborhood schools, redevelop our brownfields, support existing small businesses and otherwise enable Eugene to become a more vibrant and livable city.
• EW is now officially recognized as a “newspaper of record” for Lane County’s legal advertising, specifically monthly notices of expenditures and personal property tax warrants (see News Briefs this week). Even though Oregon statutes have allowed us to run private law firms’ legal ads for more than a decade, this is a big deal for us, and for taxpayers who will now spend less on government legal ads. This decision by the County Commissioners also reflects the fact that EW can be found just about everywhere in Lane County, from the coast to the mountains. This week we are printing a record 41,000 papers, up 11,000 papers from 10 years ago. Thanks to all our loyal readers and advertisers who keep us going and growing.
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
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